Alabama voter jailed for open-carrying at polls

kennedy
Photo Credit Frank Couch / Alabama Media Group

An Alabama voter was arrested Tuesday for bringing a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver to the ballot box.

Open-carry activist Robert Kennedy Jr., voluntarily surrendered his weapon to a deputy stationed at a church serving as a polling place in Shelby County, according to Alabama Media Group. State law permits the open carry of firearms unless stated otherwise. The location had a sign posted asking voters not to bring firearms inside.

Kennedy, a founding member of the gun-rights group BamaCarry, was charged with a misdemeanor violation of a criminal code titled “obstruction, intimidation, etc., of voting rights of others,” Alabama Media Group reported.

“Our goal is to allow every registered voter in Shelby County the right to vote in an influence-free environment,” Sheriff Chris Curry said in an earlier statement. “Voting is a constitutional right and it is our job to facilitate the process effectively and efficiently.”

Kennedy believes that his constitutional right to openly carry trumps other state laws, and further argues that according to state law, voters going to or returning from the polls can only be arrested “for treason, felony, or breach of the peace or for a violation on that day of any of the provisions of the election law.”

And he says open-carrying is not a breach of the peace.

Alabama Media Group reported that Kennedy was allowed to vote at the same polling place during a primary election on July 15, even though he was carrying a pistol.

Kennedy was given the option to return his weapon to his vehicle on Tuesday, but opted to be arrested.

“I was not going to surrender a right to exercise a right, and they’re grasping at straws to find something to arrest me for because people all over the state carried into the polls with their open-carry firearms to vote, and only in Shelby County is it an issue,” Kennedy said after being released from jail.

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