Guns at voting sites emerge as flash point in Michigan amid nationwide election tension

As tensions mount ahead of Election Day, a legal battle in Michigan is highlighting fears some officials and civil rights groups have about what will happen when people show up at polling sites with guns — which is legal in numerous jurisdictions across the United States.

Michigan, already the site of election-year unease, was thrust into the center of the armed-voter debate after state officials announced a ban on openly carried weapons at polling sites, saying guns could intimidate voters or election workers. Gun rights groups challenged the move in court and have argued it forces Michigan residents to choose between their right to vote and their right to bear arms.

Many Americans will be able to show up at their polling locations with guns, something that has unnerved law enforcement officials and experts nationwide at a time of pitched anxiety over whether clashes or violence could break out before, on or after Election Day. Gun rights supporters argue that law-abiding gun owners should be able to continue carrying their weapons where doing so is allowed…

Supporters of stricter gun-control measures have called for more widespread policies that declare firearms off-limits in such places. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has created a petition urging state and local officials to declare polling places gun-free and said that “Armed intimidation at the polls is voter suppression, plain and simple.”

Gun rights supporters, meanwhile, argue that such a ban would force people to choose between two protected rights.

“You should not have to choose which of your constitutionally protected rights you can exercise,” said Erich Pratt, senior vice president of Gun Owners of America, a pro-Second Amendment group. “You should be able to exercise more than one at the same time.”

Read more at The Washington Post