Top GOP Contender For Michigan Governor Thwarted In Effort To Keep Gun After Jan. 6 Arrest

Ryan Kelley (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

A lawyer for Ryan Kelley, a leading Republican contender for Michigan governor after a signature forgery scandal cleared the field, asked if his client could keep his gun after he was arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection last week. 

The reason for special treatment, lawyer Gary Springstead said during Thursday’s hearing, is that Kelley “is a bit of a high-profile candidate in Michigan” who lacks a security team, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Springstead conveyed that Kelley “asked that he be permitted to carry his firearm for his own self-defense, during the campaign.”

The judge rejected the request, noting that other people’s safety — like pre-trial officials who will have to pay visits to Kelley’s home — must be taken into account too. 

Kelley was charged with four misdemeanors in federal court related to his actions on Jan. 6, including knowingly engaging in any act of physical violence against a person or property in any restricted building or grounds. He was arrested last week after the FBI raided his home.

An FBI agent’s affidavit noted that the agency had gotten “numerous” tips about Kelley, who had raised his profile in Michigan by headlining a “stop the steal” rally in November 2020 outside the state capitol, protesting the removal of a local Confederate monument and organizing an April 2020 rally where right-wing participants stormed the state capitol building in protest of COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Since his arrest, Kelley has dismissed his arrest as politically motivated theater, timed to coincide with the House Jan. 6 committee’s first publicly televised hearing. 

“I think a lot of Americans see right through this, Tucker,” Kelley told Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this week. “They understand what the Democrats are up to, and it’s not a big deal to them.”

“So you’re running,” Carlson mused during the interview. “Bold.”

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