Although a Michigan Court of Claims this week overturned an order banning the open carrying of firearms at polling stations, a strong majority of voters in the state support the ban, according to a new poll.
On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Murray at the Court of Claims issued an injunction against the order by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson banning the open carrying of firearms within 100 feet of polling stations. Although Murray ruled against Benson’s decision, he said that such a ban was possible. The judge wrote in his opinion that the order violated the Midwestern State Administrative Procedure Act. The state attorney general appealed the decision on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, polls conducted by The Detroit News/WDIV-TV from October 23 to 25 show that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Michigan voters support the ban. Only 22 percent believe that the open carrying of firearms should be allowed at polling stations, while 5 percent said they “did not know. The percentage of Michigan voters who support the ban is far outside the margin of error in the poll, which is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Remarkably, the poll showed that a majority of Republicans and a significant majority of Democrats support the ban. Even a majority (67 percent) of voters who own weapons are in favor of a ban.
It remains to be seen whether the appeal against the decision of the Court of Claims will pass before election day, which is less than a week away. Ryan Jarvi, the press secretary of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Dana Nessel, told Tekk.tv on Wednesday that he could not say “when a decision will be made. That depends on the court”.
Benson’s order came just over a week after the FBI announced on October 8 that it had detained 13 suspects in connection with an alleged plan to kidnap and possibly assassinate Democratic Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer. The suspects were reportedly angered by Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions, which were lifted by the Michigan Supreme Court earlier this month.
“As the state’s chief election official, I have the honorable duty to protect every voter and his right to cast his vote free from intimidation and harassment. I will continue to protect that right in Michigan, and we will appeal this ruling,” Benson said in a statement following Murray’s decision on Tuesday.
Weapons rights activist Robert Davis filed the lawsuit against the Secretary of State’s order. Three Michigan gun rights groups-Michigan Open Carry Inc., Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners Inc. and Michigan Gun Owners Inc. filed motions in support of Davis.
Tekk.tv approached Michigan Open Carry Inc., Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners Inc. and media representatives for the Secretary of State for comments, but they did not respond immediately.
Open carry is already banned in churches, schools and some public buildings in Michigan, where many polling stations are located. Voter intimidation is also illegal under federal law. Law enforcement leaders had previously questioned the legality of Benson’s decision and expressed concerns about how it could be legally enforced.
Matt Saxton, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, told CNN that “there is no law against open wearing that is on the books in the state of Michigan. He said his organization advised local sheriffs to work with local prosecutors and officials to ensure the safety of voters at polling stations.