(CBS DETROIT) – Confusion over a firearm ban continues to mount.
On one hand, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson says her office has the power to restrict voters from bringing guns to the polls on Election Day. On another hand, the director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police says there is no act in the state’s constitution that gives police the authority to enforce the order.
Michigan’s Chief Election Officer is standing firm in her decision to ban open-carry within 100 feet of polling centers on Nov. 3 to minimize the threat of voter intimidation.
“I feel very confident as an attorney who practiced both election law and constitutional law and as a law dean and with our consultation with the attorney general that my authority to protect voters from threats and harassment and intimidation on election day when exercising the fundamental right to vote is well-grounded in the law both state and federal,” said Benson.
Constitutional Attorney Katherine henry is rejecting Benson’s legal grounds citing that the directive violates Article III Section 2 of the state’s constitution on the separation of powers.
“No person in one branch of government can then exercise the powers belonging to another branch of government unless it says so in our constitution. It doesn’t say unless it says so in our laws. So, the constitution does not allow the secretary of state to exercise authority that would belong to the legislature to regulate the people,” said Henry.
Benson’s directive states prohibiting open-carry of firearms at the polls is necessary to ensure that every voter is protected but Attorney Henry says it blocks gun-owners from the right to protect themselves.
“The constitution in the united states is very clear. That right shall not be infringed at all. Period. It also in our state constitution says that these blessings of freedom are to be exercised undiminished. Undiminished means you can’t change it, you can’t modify it, you can’t try to lessen it in some way because she thinks she has a reason to do so,” said Henry.
Secretary Benson says the Michigan State Police and the attorney general are working together to enforce the ban statewide.
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