Michigan Pro-Open Carry Group Sues Michigan AG for Violating Second Amendment Rights at Polling Locations

Michigan Secretary of State Joycelyn Benson banned open carry at all polling locations on November 3, 2020 in Michigan.

Dean Weingarten of AmmoLand noted that open carry has been legal in Michigan for the state’s entire existence.

It’s clear that this move was motivated by politics, especially in the backdrop of what appears to be the most polarizing election in decades. Benson rationalized this decision on the grounds that people open carrying might intimidate other voters at the polls, thus leading to incidents voter of suppression.

Thomas Lambert, Michigan Open Carry, Inc., Michigan Gun Owners, and Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners  banded together in a lawsuit against Secretary of State Joycelyn Benson, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, and the Director of State Police Colonel Joe Gasper, to acquire a declaratory injunction against the Secretary of State’s unconstitutional action.

Weingarten highlighted some salients points from the lawsuit:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 head of an organization that represents 385 Michigan police chiefs declared the order banning open carry at all polling locations is contradictory to the current law on the books, which was noted in The Detroit News:

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 have vowed to not enforce the unconstitutional order. They asserted that there is no law to enforce.  A piece at whml.com went into further detail about one sheriff’s belief that the open carry ban is unenforceable :

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.

Benson revealed that if local law enforcement won’t enforce the order, Michigan State Police will do so.

Weingarten concluded his piece with an interesting factoid about Benson’s radical background:

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.

Michigan’s gun laws are middle of the road when compared to other states. With how blue its state legislature has become, the threat of gun control remains real. America First voters can send a strong message on November 3 by resoundingly for Donald Trump and rejecting Democrat Joe Biden’s radical gun control proposals that are infecting state legislatures nationwide.