Michigan officials clarify that open carry of firearms isn’t allowed at polls

State officials in Michigan are reminding voters ahead of Election Day that the open carry of firearms at polling places is prohibited amid concerns of potential intimidation at the polls.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson issued the guidance Friday, saying that the presence of firearms “may cause disruption, fear or intimidation” for millions of the state’s voters on Nov. 3.

The open carry of a firearm is prohibited in polling places, any hallway used by voters to enter or exit polling sites or within 100 feet of any entrance to a polling place, Benson said.

“Absent clear standards, there is potential for confusion and uneven application of legal requirements for Michigan’s 1,600 election officials, 30,000 election inspectors, 8 million registered voters, and thousands of challengers and poll watchers on Election Day,” the guidance stated.

Voters may leave a firearm inside a vehicle parked within 100 feet of the building “if otherwise permitted by law to possess the firearm within the vehicle,” according to the guidance, which also requires polling locations to post signage of the regulation.

The notice came a week after 13 men were arrested in an alleged kidnapping plot of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. At least two of the suspects openly carried weapons during anti-lockdown protests at the state Capitol this spring, the Detroit News reported.

Five of the men accused in the plot to kidnap Whitmer are set to return to federal court Friday for a hearing on whether there’s enough evidence to charge them.

A judge also plans to consider whether two of the suspects, including a Michigan man who is the alleged ringleader of the plot, should remain jailed ahead of trial.

US Magistrate Judge Sally Beren ordered Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris and Brandon Caserta held without bond on Tuesday until they face trial. She’s expected to make bond decisions for Adam Fox and Ty Garbin on Friday.

More than 675,000 Michigan residents have concealed weapons permits, The Oakland Press reported.

With Post wires

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