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Judge orders GOP candidate Ryan Kelley to surrender his guns, over his objections

Detroit Free Press logo Detroit Free Press 6/16/2022 Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press
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Republican candidate for governor Ryan Kelley will have to surrender his guns while awaiting trial on misdemeanor criminal charges related to the U.S. Capitol riot, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather made the ruling over objections from Kelley's attorney that Kelley needs to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense during campaign appearances around the state.

Kelley, who was arrested June 9 during an FBI raid on his Ottawa County home, made his first appearance Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Washington, D.C.

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Kelley, 40, who is free on bond, appeared via Zoom but is scheduled to appear in person in federal court in Washington on July 7 for a preliminary hearing.

Kelley, who according to a new Free Press poll is the current front-runner among five Republican candidates for governor, is charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly and disruptive conduct, knowingly engaging in an act of physical violence against a person or property, and willfully injuring property, according to a criminal complaint.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley speaks during a protest outside of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing demanding a forensic audit on Feb. 8, 2022. © Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley speaks during a protest outside of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing demanding a forensic audit on Feb. 8, 2022.

More: Free Press poll: Kelley leading GOP gubernatorial field after arrest

More: Federal criminal charges could help Ryan Kelley's GOP campaign for governor

Generally, all of those misdemeanors carry penalties of up to one year in prison and fines of up to $100,000 on each charge.

Gary Springstead, a Fremont, Michigan, lawyer and former FBI agent representing Kelley, asked Meriweather to make an exception for Kelley to the firearm ban — which has been a standard condition of release for about 800 people charged in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Kelley "is a bit of a high-profile candidate in Michigan," but his campaign has no paid security, Springstead said.

Kelley has a concealed pistol license, and "he asked that he be permitted to carry his firearm for his own self-defense, during the campaign."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Yette objected to making an exception for Kelley, and the judge agreed.

"I do understand the concern," about self-defense, she said, but the court has to consider other factors, including the safety of pre-trial services officials who will need to visit Kelley's home, she said.

Kelley was also required to surrender his passport.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4Read more on Michigan politics and sign up for our elections newsletter

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Judge orders GOP candidate Ryan Kelley to surrender his guns, over his objections

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