Michigan Dems aim to ban guns at voting locations


The House, however, is stuck at a 54-54 partisan split, and has been since the beginning of the year after two Democrats resigned from their roles in late 2023. As a result, the legislation is unlikely to advance until April, when Democrats are expected to regain their majority through special elections.

Even if the House and Whitmer eventually give final approval, the gun ban would not be implemented until after Michigan’s 2024 presidential election. Senate Republicans on Thursday denied both bills “immediate effect,” meaning they would not be operational until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year, which usually happens in December.

Democrats have attempted to ban guns at polling locations since at least 2020, when Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson tried to do so on her own. She was quickly sued by gun rights groups who argued she was violating their Second Amendment rights.

Courts eventually struck down Benson’s ban, ruling she had exceeded her authority as secretary of state, not that the policy itself was inherently unconstitutional.

Under the legislation approved Thursday, a person could not bring a firearm in or within 100-feet of a voting location while polls are open on Election Day, unless they carried their weapon concealed and had a permit to do so.

The same rules would apply to early voting locations, as well as absentee ballot drop boxes, for the 40 days prior to an election.

During that 40-day window a person could not bring their gun into, or within 100-feet of, a city or township clerk’s office or their satellite locations.

Violations could result in a $100 fine, up to 90 days in jail, or both.

Sen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, and Sen. Kevin Hertel, D-Saint Clair Shores, offered amendments to the bills ahead of their passage, five of which were ultimately approved.


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