Monday, August 12, 2013

Michigan Police Become Educated on Open Carry

 Open carriers in Arizona protesting politicization of the IRS

On August 2nd, 2008, five years ago, Christopher Fetters was illegally arrested for exercising his Constitutional rights during the Coast Guard festival in Grand Haven, Michigan.  Parts of the original article are still available on  The High Road.  Fetters was legally carrying his holstered Glock when he was disarmed, arrested, and had his pistol confiscated.

When the city attorney read the law, he realized that the City had made a mistake.  The charges were dropped and the pistol returned.    Mr. Fetters filed a Federal lawsuit against Grand Haven for civil rights violations.  The lawsuit resulted in a cash settlement for Mr. Fetters in 2010, along with an agreement to educate their officers about the legality of open carry, and that open carry is not probable cause for a stop.

In 2009, a similar situation occurred to Mr. Haman, in Warren, Michigan.  Another lawsuit resulted in  a $5,000 settlement for Mr. Haman, and training for Warren police officers.

In 2012, an 18 year old man exercised his constitutional rights by open carrying his birthday present, a rifle, slung over his shoulder in Birmingham, MI.  He was arrested and his rifle confiscated.  He was found not guilty in a jury trial.   He and fellow open carriers then exercised their rights in Birmingham, MI, with Mr. Combs triumphantly carrying his rifle.  

A civil suit has been filed against Birmingham.  Mr. Combs defense cost several thousand dollars, and the city refuses to admit to any wrongdoing.

In Grand Haven, in 2013, the police now cooperate with people exercising their Constitutional rights.   While the police requested that an open carry demonstration remain at city hall, they no longer have any doubt that open carry is legal.

Respect for Second Amendment rights has grown in Michigan, as noted by DrTodd at :

Yes, things have changed for the better and I can honestly say in my 8 or so years of OCing in West Michigan, real problems have become almost non-existent. Like I said earlier, I've OC'd in Grand Haven for many years, usually 6-8x a year, and have had no problems. However, just a few months ago I did have an Ottawa County Deputy get a little agitated regarding me OCing in a gas station convenience store in Hudsonville... that though is another issue.
 It may be years before we hear the result to Sean Combs civil rights lawsuit against the City of Birmingham, but it is clear that  the number of people exercising their right to keep and bear arms in Michigan is growing, and that police attitudes are changing as they are being educated.

 ©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Update: an editing error substituted New Haven for Grand Haven.  Grand Haven is correct.  I have changed the name back to Grand Haven.


Wireless.Phil said...

Lorain, Ohio police need an education too!

I heard on the police radio last night they were outside my building because someone 'think' they saw a person with a gun. So naturally the police showed-up.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any problem with someone calling that in and the police investigating, as long as the police follow the law. The person might have looked suspicious, or been involved in an argument, or maybe pointed it at someone. A few weeks ago at my apt building I saw someone walk out of the building with a gun, something didn't look right about it. He was dressed like a thug, I didn't recognize him as anyone who lives here, and he was walking quite fast. I called the cops, and about 5 seconds later I heard gun shots. This is NOT a high crime area either. I Open carry myself all the time, never had anyone call the cops on me. I have had a few libtards stop and say "omg why does he have a gun!" but they didn't call the cops.

tjviz said...

Educating our police seems to be the only way. In Mount Pleasant Michigan, a Michigan State Police Post Commander admits on tape that he gets to vote on individuals 2nd amendment rights.