A state judge on Tuesday blocked an effort from Michigan’s secretary of state to ban openly carried firearms at polling places.
The preliminary injunction ruling from Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had violated the state rule-making process and that the ban was likely unlawful.
“[T]o not enjoin a directive that is very likely unlawful would allow a single state officer to circumvent (and essentially amend) a valid and enforceable state law on the same subject,” the judge wrote in his opinion Tuesday.
He noted that state law already prohibits openly carrying firearms in some locations used as polling places, such as churches, and added in italics: “Just as importantly, voter intimidation is already a crime.”
A spokesperson for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose office argued for the secretary of state’s ban in court, said in a statement that they intended to immediately appeal the decision, “as this issue is of significant public interest and importance to our election process.”
From the first announcement of Benson’s ban on open carry firearms at polling locations, some law enforcement officials in Michigan rebelled against the rule, saying they would not enforce it. The attorney general said that, in that case, she would use state police.
Benson’s office was taken to court over the ban in separate suits from the gun activists Robert Davis and Thomas Lambert. The latter was joined by Michigan Open Carry, Michigan Gun Owners and the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners. The suits were consolidated and Murray’s ruling addressed both of them.