A federal district court in Michigan ruled earlier this month that police can stop people who they consider suspicious for exercising their constitutional right to open-carry firearms.
On March 3, 2013 police in Grand Rapids, Michigan stopped Johann Deffert without probable cause after receiving a 911 call about a suspicious individual. The caller considered Deffert suspicious because of his openly visible holstered firearm and because he was wearing camouflage.
“Although Deffert remained cooperative and respectful, (officer) Moe appeared to be taken aback when the man attempted to school him on the legalities of open carry in the state,” the Ghostgen website explains. “Almost immediately, Moe detained Deffert while the officer ensured he had no mental or criminal background that would prohibit him from legally carrying a gun. By this time, a second officer, Timothy Johnston, had arrived on the scene.”
“It is undisputed that Plaintiff was legally entitled to openly carry his pistol,” the court ruled. “Specifically, the parties agree that openly carrying a pistol is lawful in Michigan, so long as the person is carrying the firearm with lawful intent and the firearm is not concealed.” Police in Grand Rapid, according to the court, are aware of “the subjects of firearms laws and ‘open carry’ through emails and in-house training sessions.”
The court ruled that the Plaintiff had “no genuine issue for trial” on the grounds his rights were violated and he was assaulted and falsely imprisoned.
The court decided police have the authority to stop people engaged in lawful open-carry in clear violation of their constitutional rights.