A Michigan Court of Appeals decision that overturned a ban on openly carried firearms at or near polling places in the state will be the final word on the issue, after the state’s Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The court never responded to Benson’s request, and her office on Monday afternoon reluctantly issued a statement acknowledging that her ban would have no force of law on Election Day.
Soon after Benson’s original announcement in mid-October, many sheriffs and police chiefs across the state of Michigan expressed concern over the legality of her order, and the state’s association of police chiefs publicly stated that Benson simply didn’t have the authority to unilaterally bar legally carried firearms from the polls.
A collection of gun rights groups filed a lawsuit against the ban and won. The Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal. Benson asked the Supreme Court to weight in by 10 a.m. Monday whether it would consider an appeal, but the court didn’t respond.“Though I am disappointed that the Supreme Court hasn’t provided guidance in advance of Election Day, it does not change the fact that voter intimidation is still illegal in Michigan,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in the release.The open carry of guns is already not allowed inside some buildings used as polling places in Michigan, including churches. Some schools also ban guns on the property, so open carry wouldn’t be allowed Tuesday at such places.