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Court of Appeals denies appeal in open carry ban case, cites laws against voter intimidation

Posted at 4:16 PM, Oct 29, 2020

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Court of Appeals will not hear an appeal on the Court of Claims ruling that blocked an order banning the open carry of guns at polling places.

Related: Gun advocates feel unfairly targeted by order that would have banned open carry at the polls

Writing in response to a motion in two cases arguing against the ban, the Court of Appeals ruled that there are existing laws on the books making voter intimidation a crime.

In turning aside the appeal, the justices wrote:

We wish to clarify two important points as election day rapidly approaches. First, while the civil-rights amicus brief raises legitimate concerns about voter intimidation throughout this country’s history, the Michigan Legislature has given the Executive Branch important and necessary tools to prevent voter intimidation: Voter intimidation is—and remains—illegal under current Michigan law. MCL 168.932(a), 168.744(1); see also 18 USC 594. Second, brandishing a firearm in public is—and remains—illegal under current Michigan law. MCL 750.234e. Accordingly, anyone who intimidates a voter in Michigan by brandishing a firearm (or, for that matter, by threatening with a knife, baseball bat, fist, or otherwise menacing behavior) is committing a felony under existing law, and that law is—and remains—enforceable by our Executive branch as well as local law enforcement.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Dana Nessel's office says they will appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court:

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% 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.