Nessel, Benson appeal judge’s ruling striking down ban of open carry of guns at polls

Nessel, Benson appeal judge's ruling striking down ban of open carry of guns at polls

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel swiftly filed an emergency appeal Wednesday following a Michigan judge’s ruling Tuesday that struck down Benson’s directive banning the open carry of guns at polling places on Election Day. The appeal, filed in the Court of Appeals, highlights Michigan law that Benson and Nessel say gives the Secretary of State supervisory authority over polling places and the authority to issue instructions to curb disturbances and protect voters from intimidation. The appeal also states that the Secretary of State’s authority to issue instructions curbing voter intimidation and disturbances has previously been upheld, noting that the use of cameras and recording equipment in the polls is limited despite prior lawsuits citing First Amendment concerns. "The Secretary is thus well within her authority to issue instructions to curb disturbances, ensure evenhandedness across polling locations, and to protect all voters from intimidation on Election Day," the appeal states. Additionally, the Legislature has not created a statutory right to open carry, according to the appeal, and in fact criminalizes open carry in certain sensitive areas such as banks, houses of worship, courts and hospitals. "Simply put, as the Michigan Supreme Court has recognized, ‘a legislature legislates by legislating, not by doing nothing, not by keeping silent.’ And with respect to a right to open carry, the Legislature has not created it generally," the appeal states. "Ultimately, the Secretary’s Directive does not infringe any statutory right to open carry because it does not forbid […]

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