Judge Shoots Down Ban On Open Carry At Voting Sites
A Michigan Judge is handing yet another loss to the Whitmer administration in Lansing. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had ordered what to many throughout the state, was a startling order. On the 16th, and no doubt in concert with Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Benson unilaterally ordered a ban on open carry firearms in and around voting sites. The administration’s public statement quotes the Secretary of State as saying, ““The presence of firearms at the polling place, clerk’s office(s), or absent voter counting board may cause disruption, fear, or intimidation for voters, election workers, and others present.”
Immediately we began hearing complaints from state lawmakers, police command officers and sheriffs, individual firearms owners, and gun rights groups. The whole idea according to most was absurd. The legislature they said has already dealt with issues surrounding where and when firearms are allowed. That includes banning them from churches, schools, many public buildings, and courts, and the list goes on. The Secretary of State order they said just causes confusion where none needs to exist.
Michigan’s Court of Claims Chief Judge Christopher Murray agrees. He is issuing a temporary restraining order prohibiting the open carry ban from being enforced. His ruling comes as a result of hearing action on one of two lawsuits immediately filed over the attempted open carry ban. The plaintiffs successfully argued the ban would force state residents to choose between their right to personal safety or exercising their right to vote.
The Detroit News reports Judge Murray is pointing out that Benson’s order, “…smacks of an attempt at legislation." The Judge says the order lacks public input instead of following the regular rule-making process. The Judge is also indicating that the state already has laws prohibiting voter intimidation. The order from Benson created a lot of confusion for many local elections clerks who were clamoring for clarification. When some Michigan county Sheriff’s announced they would not allow their deputies to attempt to enforce the order, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel stepped in and said the state would order Michigan State Police Troopers to enforce the ban where local law enforcement departments fell short. AG Nessel is now saying she will immediately challenge Chief Judge Murray’s ruling.