It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court.
Open carry, in accordance with Michigan law, has been legal in Michigan for the entire history of the state.
It appears, by caprice or for political purposes, Benson has decided to change the long precedent for the 2020 elections. Benson is acting as a dictator, imposing restrictions the legislator and governor have refused to pass, although they have had numerous opportunities to do so.
Benson’s stated excuse is that people seeing others exercise their Second Amendment rights, might feel intimidated, and thus not vote. No other Michigan Secretary has issued such an order.
Thomas Lambert, Michigan Open Carry, Inc., Michigan Gun Owners, and Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners have all joined in a lawsuit against Secretary of State Joycelyn Benson, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, and the Director of State Police Col. Joe Gasper, to obtain a declaratory injunction against the illegal order.
The Secretary of State’s pronouncement has created a Hobson’s choice for those wishing to exercise both their 2nd Amendment right to self-protection and their fundamental right to vote. Under the pronouncement and associated threat of arrest, one mus choose on right or the other, but not both. If one wishes to vote, one must surrender their 2nd Amendment and Mich. Const. 1963, Art. I, § 6 rights. If one wishes to exercise the right of self-protection, one must surrender their right to vote. The practical effect of the pronouncement is to disenfranchise 2nd Amendment and Mich. Const. 1963, Art. I, § 6 supporting voters.
Plaintiffs seek a judicial declaration that the secretary of State’s pronouncement, regulation, directive, or edict is an ultra vires act. Further, Plaintiffs seek a judicial declaration that the secretary of State’s pronouncement, regulation, directive, or edict is in violation of Michigan law, an ultra vires act, and void. Plaintiffs also seek injunctive relieve with immediate consideration thereof.
The leader of a group representing 385 Michigan police chiefs says the edict prohibiting open carry at all polling places is contrary to existing law. From detroitnews.com:
The head of the group that represents 385 Michigan police chiefs warned Monday that officers won’t be able to enforce Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ban on openly carrying firearms at polling places on Election Day because the edict is not based in law.
Several Michigan Sheriffs are refusing to enforce the illegal order, saying there is no law to enforce. From whml.com:
Murphy stated Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt has concurred the ban is unenforceable. He noted that people can’t point or wave guns or anything else, which would constitute intimidation or even felonious assault. Murphy said someone simply having a gun strapped to their hip or a long gun strapped on their chest or back is open carry and as long as it stays there, there’s nothing that can be done. As for the intimidation factor, Murphy says they can take enforcement if someone is being intimidated at the polls. But he clarified that someone just open carrying is not intimidation and not illegal. Murphy said if someone is open carrying a pistol or a long gun and they were to approach someone and make comments about who someone should vote for – that would put it into the category of intimidation.
State Officials say they will use State Police to enforce the order. From bridgemi.com:
Michigan Sheriffs Association executive director Matt Saxton called the order “a solution in search of a problem” and Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck said the “legally ambiguous guidance … could incite others to challenge it on Election Day.”
If local law enforcement doesn’t enforce the rule, the Michigan State Police will, Benson said.
Over the weekend, Nessel told Showtime’s “The Circus” that the state police would patrol polling locations where they believe sheriffs won’t enforce voter intimidation laws to ensure compliance.
Joycelyn Benson is a lifelong radical Democrat. She was aided in her run for Secretary of State by the SOS project funded by George Soros. The SOS project is dedicated to elect radical leftists so they can influence the administration of election law.