Michigan State Secretary Jocelyn Benson said Friday that people are not allowed to carry weapons openly “at a polling station, any time voters use to enter or exit, or within 100 feet of any entrance to a building,” where a polling station is located “on election day.
“The presence of firearms at the polling station, clerk (s) or absent voter count may cause disruption, fear or intimidation to voters, election staff and others present,” Benson wrote in his note.
Individuals can leave their firearms in their cars within 100 feet of a building if they are legally allowed to do so. Benson also noted that concealed transportation is not allowed in any building that already prohibits practice.
The announcement comes amid growing fears of violence on election day. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told Showtime̵
“The most important thing is this, we do not want people to harass voters when they are exercising a fundamental right, which is their right to vote,” she said. “And I feel like it’s my job to do everything I can to make sure there’s a safe and secure vote, and I hope law enforcement agrees.”
Joey Roberts, president of Open Carry Michigan Inc., said Saturday that his organization does not feel Benson has the legal authority to openly ban carrying weapons. He said the group is currently discussing options to fight the ban, and he said “ligation is on the table.”
“There has been some talk of some gun bans at the Capitol and that sort of thing, and we were aware of that, but this surprised us all,” Roberts said.
Michigan’s House and Senate have introduced legislation to permanently ban guns at the state Capitol building. In April, armed protesters entered the building in Lansing and stood in the gallery of lawmakers during a protest against coronavirus restrictions.
Benson’s action comes just weeks after the announcement of charges against individuals accused ofand storm the State Capitol. Two of the 14 accused were photographed at the April protest.
Whitmer has drawn a direct line between the political rhetoric, especially in the midst of lockdowns, and the alleged plan to kidnap her. When President Trump mentioned her during a recent demonstration, the crowd shouted “unlock her,” and Mr. Trump said “unlock them all.”
Whitmer tweeted shortly after Mr Trump’s comments: “This is exactly the rhetoric that has endangered the lives of me, my family and other government officials as we try to save the lives of our Americans. It must stop.”