Michigan on Friday announced a ban on the open carriage of weapons at polling stations to avoid harassment and intimidation of voters during the critical swing state election.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s announcement attracted a swift reprimand from some Republicans and gun rights activists, including the National Rifle Association, but the Democratic official said firearms at polling stations could cause fear and disruption to election workers and Michiganders trying to cast their ballots. on November 3rd.
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“Fair, free and secure elections are the foundation of our democracy,”
Michigan leaders have been paying close attention to armed intimidation in the wake of gun-wielding protesters storming the Michigan Capitol, and a destroyed plot by Michigan militia extremists trying to kidnap the Getchen Whitmer government. President Trump, who has repeatedly warned of electoral fraud, urged his supporters to pay attention and “go into the polls and look very closely, because that’s what’s going to happen.”
Grassroots efforts are underway to do so. Bridge Magazine reports that thousands of pollsters and challengers are expected to fall in areas across Michigan on Nov. 3.
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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined Benson in support of the open transportation ban.
“Michigan voters have the right to vote in person on Election Day without threat and intimidation,” Nessel said. “An armed presence at the polls is inconsistent with our notion of a free democracy.”
Benson’s directive said open firearms are prohibited inside any polling station, any time used by voters to get in and out, or within 100 feet outside the building’s entrance.
But Joey Roberts, president of the Michigan Open Carry, said the Whitmer administration has not been particularly gun-friendly, and now they are “punishing” gun owners for the actions of the 14 men allegedly involved in the kidnapping plan.
“The Secretary of State does not have the authority to do this,” Roberts told Fox News, adding that they are considering filing a lawsuit to challenge the ban. “Lawsuits are not off the table.”
Roberts also sees the open transport ban as an attempt to suppress the voice of gun owners.
“Me who walks into a polling station that openly carries my gun does not scare anyone,” he said.
The NRA also opposed the ban, with spokeswoman Amy Hunter telling the Detroit News that this “ill-conceived act only eradicates the right to self-defense by law-abiding Michiganders.”
At least one county sheriff said he would not enforce the ban.
“An order is an order, and frankly, it cannot be enforced,” Mike Murphy, sheriff of Livingston County, northwest of Detroit, told the newspaper. “They have no authority to replace the law.”
Triston Cole, a state Republican lawmaker, blew up the directive on Facebook as “an unconstitutional ban in your face” and accused Democrats of trying to “take away your weapons and your rights to another amendment.”
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Michigan is a critical swing state in this election, with Democrat Joe Biden trying to win the Midwest back and Trump trying to repeat his victory in the Great Lakes State four years ago.
Senate control is also at stake with Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich., Trying to avert a serious challenge from Republican John James. Biden fought in Michigan on Friday, and Trump is scheduled to do so on Saturday.