Michigan court rejects appeal to ban open carry of guns, citing voter intimidation laws

The Michigan appeals court has rejected an appeal from a Democratic state official who wants to ban the open carry of guns outside polling places.

The court says said it was rejecting the appeal because voter intimidation already is illegal.

The order came two days after a Court of Claims judge said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson had exceeded her authority in prohibiting the open carry of guns within 100 feet of a polling place.

Judge Christopher Murray said the policy didn't go through a formal rule-making process required under Michigan law.

Benson moved to ban guns following the arrest of several men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Attorney General Dana Nessel's office promised within 20 minutes after the ruling that it would appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. 

"The merits of this issue – which impacts all Michiganders - deserves full and expedited consideration by our State’s highest court," Nessel's press secretary Ryan Jarvi said in a statement.

Attorney Terry Johnson who filed one of the lawsuits against Benson, said the decision was not a surprise.

"The Court of Appeals got it right," he said. "This decision is truly not about voter intimidation, it is not about firearms at the poll. It is yet again another stab at trying to expand powers by the executive branch and take away the people's actual voice, the people who want to be heard."

Nessel released a more detailed statement saying:

"We intend to immediately appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. Just today a poll released by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV indicated that 73 percent of Michigan voters say openly carried guns should be banned near polling places. The merits of this issue - which impacts all Michiganders -deserves full and expedited consideration by our state's highest court." 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.