Gun rights groups file lawsuit against polling place firearm ban

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    As expected, three gun rights groups filed a lawsuit last week against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for her ban on openly carrying firearms within 100 feet of polling places for the Nov. 3 general election. 

    The groups, which include Michigan Open Carry, Michigan Gun Owners and Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners filed the suit Thursday against Benson, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Michigan State Police Director Joe Gasper for forcing people to choose between “their 2nd Amendment right to self-protection and their fundamental right to vote.”

    The suit also states that Benson’s directive is outside of her authority, although Michigan law says that she has “full authority to maintain peace, regularity and order” at polling locations.

    Michigan Secretary of State: You can’t open carry at the polls

    Benson, who announced the directive on Oct. 16, said the intent of the ban is to limit the “fear of threats, intimidation or harassment.”

    The gun rights groups said in the lawsuit that this assertion unfairly correlates open carrying firearms with voter intimidation.

    Nessel said on Showtime’s “The Circus” that if local law enforcement refuse to enforce the order, “then we’ll get somebody else who will, the Michigan State Police.”

    In order for the lawsuit to be settled by Election Day, the groups asked for an accelerated schedule for briefs and oral arguments.

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.