Six states ban all guns at polling stations – Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas – according to the Giffords Law Center, and four other states – Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina – ban concealed weapons there . Firearms can also be banned in polling stations that are in schools or other places where firearms are not generally allowed.
Many open-door states allow individuals to carry holstered rifles to the polls, but experts have said weapons brandished or carried by paramilitary groups would most likely cross the line of intimidation.
In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson attempted to ban openly carried firearms from voting sites this year, citing the potential for them to scare or intimidate voters. But on Tuesday, a state judge blocked the directive, saying it created a new administrative rule without going through the process.
Still, experts said in a conflict between voters ‘right to vote peacefully and the Second Amendment right to bear arms, voters’ interests would likely prevail, and election officials had wide latitude to avoid disruption. .
Cases involving guns at polling stations are rare, and one of the most notorious in recent times has involved a baton, not a gun.
In 2008, two members of the New Black Panther Party, a black separatist racist group, stood outside a predominantly black and Democratic polling station in Philadelphia, dressed in black outfits described as uniforms. One of them ran a billy club and identified himself as “security”.
Although officials said no voters complained of intimidation and no criminal charges were laid, the case has become a notorious case among conservatives, who have criticized the Justice Department for dropping most of the related civil suits after President Barack Obama took office.