MICHIGAN — The head of the group that represents 385 Michigan police chiefs warned Monday that officers won’t be able to enforce Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s ban on openly carrying firearms at polling places on Election Day because the edict is not based in law.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Friday sent guidance to local election officials to explain that openly carrying firearms on Election Day in polling places, clerk’s offices and absent voter counting boards would be banned.
But the edict has no legal basis, said Robert Stevenson, director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, reported The Detroit News.
“The Secretary of State issued these administrative rules, but in researching the issue, there’s nothing in the law that gives police the authority to enforce these rules,” Stevenson said. “Their theory is if people don’t follow the rules and don’t leave (the polling place), they’d have a trespassing situation where police would be able to take enforcement action.
“But the feedback I’ve been getting from our police agencies is that they’re uncomfortable trying to enforce something they clearly don’t have the authority to enforce,” Stevenson said. “Our hope is that this will get resolved and there’ll be some clear guidance.
“… But as it stands now, there’s nothing in the law that gives police the authority to enforce the Secretary of State’s edict.”