Michigan Open Carry Activists Convicted on ‘Technicality’

James Baker (L) and Brandon Vreeland (R)

Two gun rights activists were convicted yesterday as a result of an incident that took place in February at a police station in Michigan. James Baker and Brandon Vreeland walked in to the Dearborn Police Station to complain about an earlier traffic stop (a partial video of which was uploaded to YouTube — language NSFW).

Baker was wearing a black ski mask and body armor with a sidearm strapped to his hip and a rifle on a sling; Vreeland carried a camera to memorialize the event which can be seen below (with more NSFW language.)

Dearborn’s finest weren’t amused and drew their firearms to underscore the point. They disarmed and arrested the duo, who were subsequently charged with offenses that included brandishing a firearm, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and carrying a concealed weapon (CCW).

Neither, however, were charged with the act of carrying a rifle and handgun into a police station. Whatever the wisdom of that act, there’s no law in the Wolverine State that bars open carriage of a firearm by citizens into a police station…as Baker and Vreeland can be heard loudly asserting in the video above.

According to his attorney, Nicholas Somberg, Vreeland was convicted of the CCW offense, resisting arrest, and disturbing the peace. Baker was convicted only for the CCW offense.

If you think it’s odd that two open carry activists were convicted for carrying a concealed weapon, you’re not alone. Baker was openly carrying his firearms. As for Vreeland, he didn’t even have a gun with him. “All he did was walk in holding a camera!” says Somberg. So what gives?

The CCW conviction was based on video shot earlier in the day by Vreeland on his GoPro camera. As the two men were getting ready for the day’s activities, Baker can be seen unloading a handgun and putting it in the trunk of the vehicle, which Vreeland then closed.

Under Michigan law, persons without a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) can only transport firearms that are unloaded and locked in a container designed for firearms in an inaccessible area of the vehicle. Baker’s attorney James J. Makowski asserted that it isn’t clear in the video whether or not the firearm was placed in a container, but the jury apparently didn’t give him the benefit of the doubt.

“This conviction is based on the silliest of technicalities,” Makowski says. “The gun was in the trunk, completely inaccessible to the passenger compartment. Is that really deserving of a five year felony conviction?” Even in California, one of the most notoriously anti-gun states in the Union, he notes, the offense would be a minor misdemeanor.

There’s another wrinkle here. While Makowski notes that Vreeland “never bothered to get a CPL,” Baker arguably did have one at the time of the arrest. He had been issued a license by the state of Michigan in February 2015. It had been suspended that year due to misdemeanor charges stemming from another protest, but those charges were dismissed in August 2015.

At that time, Michigan law was unclear as to whether a CPL suspended due to pending charges would automatically be restored. Both Makowski and Somberg argue that it should have been, and that Baker was legal to have a handgun locked in the trunk when the incident took place earlier this year. Needless to say, an appeal is in the offing.

Both men are now facing several years in prison and, unless the felony CCW conviction is overturned, permanent loss of the right to own firearms under both Michigan and federal law. Regardless, neither is likely to continue their activism. “Fighting the power of the state has cost my client [Vreeland] so much, I don’t think he can afford to continue with it,” Makowski said.

There’s another twist. The CCW charge had been dismissed earlier in the year. The judge — who had been on the bench for 30 years — agreed that Baker’s CPL was still valid. Unfortunately, he retired and was replaced by another judge who agreed to reverse the dismissal based on an oral motion from Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy (who has been fond of anti-gun politics and prosecutions.)

No one marches into a police station with a rifle without reasonably expecting trouble to ensue, and these two got it in spades. Whether they achieved anything positive for the cause of gun rights is debatable at best; one doesn’t have to look at the comments section of those YouTube videos to know that this incident doesn’t put the gun rights in a positive light. Other Michigan open carry activists have disavowed them.

And yet… if an act is legal, why do we demand criminal prosecutions when someone undertakes that legal act?

 

comments

  1. avatar Ralph says:

    “And yet… if an act is legal, why do we demand criminal prosecutions when someone undertakes that legal act?”

    Because this “legal act” was felony stupid.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Felony Stupid, they are lucky it wasn’t fatally stupid! I suspect they will win on appeal, but as has frequently been said before, the process is the punishment.

      1. avatar General Mills says:

        Earth wouldn’t miss these dim bulbs. Amazing how the stupid gun owners can so easily trample the rights of the rest of us.

        Careful who you stand behind. We are just one mass shooting away from having to explain ourselves. And these dumb $h/ts just eliminated the middleman.

    2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Then it’s not really a right. I haven’t been taking advantage of the option to legally carry a firearm into a police station, so it really wouldn’t impact my day-to-day. If they outlawed this, at least we could stop pretending that this privilege exists for the ordinary citizenry, no?

      1. avatar Arc says:

        Dawning a ski mask, body armor, setting up cameras, and carrying weapons into a police station isn’t exercising rights, its a deliberate effort to inspire fear and otherwise act in a menacing manner. It could probably be argued as attempted suicide by cop.

        The technicality is ridiculous and the courts are not supposed to “make examples” of people, but in this case I’m not going to complain about it too much about it. They walked away from their stupidity and got off easy.

        They would likely have had a very different reception if they walked in dressed and pressed with only holstered pistols and talked shop for a few hours about open carry.

        1. avatar mach37 says:

          I would consider their act a “flourishing a firearm,” considering the circumstances of the flourisher dressed and armed like an ISIS jihadist. In many jurisdictions that is an illegal act when done under inappropriate circumstances. He may not have flourished, but walking in masked and very strangely attired, I think a reasonable person would consider it intimidating. That seems like a potentially hostile act to me, the equivalent of flourishing.

    3. avatar Jeremy says:

      There is no such legal principle as “felony stupid”. Legal or not?

      Answer: Legal.

      No charges should have been filed.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        It’s one thing to believe that the world should be a certain way and quite another to believe that you can simply wish it to be by sheer force of will despite ample evidence to the contrary. Hence ‘criminally stupid’.

      2. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

        A judge with 30 years’ experience agreed with you.

      3. avatar DDay says:

        Agreed. The law is what it is and whether what they did was stupid or not, no charges should have been filed. I hope they win on appeal.

        1. avatar Rattlerjake says:

          It’s amazing how many “pro-gun” individuals commenting on here so easily accept illegal actions by police and government because they think that an act was “stupid”. Stupid or not, this is a direct violation of RIGHTS, and proof that government will abuse their authority when they want to! The “laws” that these men are charged with/convicted of are ALL unconstitutional to begin with!

    4. avatar Cliff H says:

      I remember years ago on an early episode of COPS one of the officers turned to the camera and said, “If it was illegal to be stupid we would be busy non-stop every shift.”

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        Arresting themselves.

        1. avatar Rattlerjake says:

          All of Mexifornia would be a penal colony!

  2. avatar G says:

    Wow, those guys are so lucky there still alive. I would assume id be shot up before making it across the lobby looking like that.

    1. avatar Paul R says:

      These guys are VERY lucky they were not shot. This is as stupid an act as I’ve seen and these two nitwits should be hit in the head with a baseball bat repeatedly. This is exactly the type of nonsense that hurts the KABA cause. We should shun these two morons until they go away.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Paul R,

        Please tell me exactly what was so “wrong” about what these men did? Let me guess: they approached a police station with “deadly weapons”?

        Guess what: every person who approaches the front of a police station in a vehicle is in possession of a deadly weapon and could launch that vehicle through the front of the station and kill people any second. Is it wrong/stupid to approach the front of a police station in a vehicle?

        Guess what: every fit male with two arms and feet who walks into a police station has “deadly weapons”. They could suddenly put a lethal haymaker punch or martial arts kick into anyone. Is it wrong/stupid to walk into the police station with two arms and feet?

        Final question: why would it be okay for a police officer from another jurisdiction to walk in with a rifle over their back but not for you or me?

        1. avatar Hooty says:

          It’s the deadly weapon in combination with body armor and a ski mask and a camera and a bad attitude. They weren’t just walking around with rifles, they were clearly looking to create a confrontation, and they got it. I’m not saying it’s illegal, but I would put a LOT of distance between my family and anyone that thinks that this was a smart, productive “protest.” And if anyone asks how I, a ccw holder, views this incident I’ll tell them that they had it coming.

        2. avatar Wyvern says:

          Please tell me exactly what was so “wrong” about what these men did?

          Did you watch the video? The dude walked into a police station with an AK across his chest (not slung over his back or shoulder) while wearing a face mask and body armor. He put his hand on the grip at least once while walking in the door. As far as the cops were concerned, he looked like a terrorist that was about to attack the place. He is lucky to be alive.

        3. avatar neiowa says:

          Pretty sure an ACTUAL terrorist would have been shooting when he walked in. No time for drop the donut/get the cartridge out of pocket.

        4. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Final question: why would it be okay for a police officer from another jurisdiction to walk in with a rifle over their back but not for you or me?”

          Uuummmm, like, you know….cops are Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave,Clean, and Reverent.

        5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Wyvern,

          Please note that I am not being obtuse or a troll …

          Why is it okay if a police officer has a ballistic vest, wears a balaclava, and walks around with a rifle in hand at “low ready” but not okay for someone who is not a police officer?

          Was the armed man’s ballistic vest, balaclava, and firearms deeply unnerving? Sure. So what? Suppose someone was protesting in front of a mall and displaying a sign of an aborted baby that is deeply unnerving, offensive, and/or frightening to many people. So those people call the police who then harass the person holding the sign. And then the person holding the sign goes to the police department to file a complaint. Of course they take their sign with them for whatever reason. But the sign is DEEPLY unnerving, offensive, and/or frightening to the police officers. Does that justify the police aiming guns at the person with the sign and arresting them for disturbing the peace?

        6. avatar California Richard says:

          I think the operative term here is “reasonableness”. People don’t walk in to banks, schools, bingo halls, etc to mass-murder, rob, etc wearing jeans and holding protest signs. Its also not “common pratice” to walk around wearing ballistic vests, rifles, and ski masks at a one or two person protest. It has been people’s common experience that the opposite is true. The police response was reasonable in this context. They knew what they were doing and got the response they were looking for. You can make excuses for these idiots’ stupidity, but thats all they are…. excuses.

      2. avatar The Punisher says:

        So based on your comment and the negative comments of others here that you all would conclude that the Boston Tea Party was stupid correct? It was obviously an illegal act.

        In fact the entire American Revolution was an illegal act in the eyes of the English government…

        This is why tyranny will reign in this country.

  3. avatar Ed says:

    2A and punishment aside, was it really wise to walk into a police station with a rifle?
    There are things that you just shouldn’t do.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Okay, let’s play your game:

      First Amendment and punishment aside, was it really wise to walk into a police station with a “Police are pigs!” sign? There are things that you just shouldn’t do.

      In other words, if someone FEELS deeply, intensely, and viscerally offended or scared of your conduct, you should not do it. Well, several people are deeply, intensely, and viscerally offended and scared of your position on rights. Therefore, you should never type comments on the Internet.

      Leftists are using this notion to justify suppressing our rights. Please reconsider your position.

      1. avatar California Richard says:

        The left actually agrees with you uncommon_sense. They do stupid crap like this all the time for the sake of free speech. The consequnce is that the left and their ideas are out of touch with normal people and they are hemorrhaging political influence and popular support.

    2. avatar Roymond says:

      These days walking into a police station with a rifle isn’t too bright because the police are statists serving and protecting themselves. But when I was a kid I remember a high school guy taking his rifle into the police station because there was something wrong with it and he figured they had some expertise — they figured out the problem, fixed it, gave him his rifle back and wished him good hunting.

      If cops would go back to being peace officers instead of authoritarian servants of the great god LAW, most of the issue would resolve itself,

      1. avatar Burninoil says:

        This

  4. avatar Klause Von Schmitto says:

    I don’t fully understand all the legal ramifications of their actions but I do understand that these two morons should bless every day they wake up.

  5. avatar Ron says:

    Good to get people that dim off the street.

  6. avatar GS650G says:

    Lucky they didn t get ventilated.

  7. avatar Swarf says:

    Good. You aren’t helping, ninjatoads.

  8. avatar Jim Bremer says:

    “And yet… if an act is legal, why do we demand criminal prosecutions when someone undertakes that legal act?”

    Really easy….they weren’t a member of the powerful or the elite(or a govt employee). While I don’t agree at all with their tactics….They didn’t do anything illegal. But the Powers that Be weren’t going to let these serfs get away with daring to question the State’s authority….so they went after them and finally got a judge to agree(along with a jury). As a former resident of Michigan(and Wayne County)….I can tell you that it’s just like most areas. The police, govt officials get away with pretty much everything but if you DARE step out of line you get the book thrown at you. How many cops do you thinkg this crooked proectuor has gone after with such vigor? Funny how us serfs as supposed to follow the letter of the law but the same doesnt apply to them.

    Also…just an FYI…Michigan’s gun laws(especially concerning handguns) were just as notoriously racist based as the worst ones of the South. It’s a fascinating story about this man
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossian_Sweet
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrKsVmT1cFw
    Bascially the KKK got an entire package of gun laws passed that included county gun boards to get CCW permits, pistol purchase permits(no permit? No purchase), gun registration, no exchange/sale gun between private peoplewith out purchase permit, and transport laws. And surprise surprise….f you were black magically those boards(all white people) would deny you CCW. If you were black the local law enforcement would deny you the purchase permit. And if you did get to buy a gun you had to follow all the draconian transport laws(which white people weren’t really held to the same the standard to obedy).

    I can tell you from personal experience that before Michigan became a shall issue state it was almost impossible to get a CPL(CCW). And without it you were strictly limited on where you could carry your handgun. You could only go to and from the range, place of business, hunting location, or store for repair. And you better not make any other stops coming or going as that was illegal. And that gun better be locked up in a case and not accessible to people in the car(ie in the trunk). Unfortunately, even though many of these racists laws are slowly being changed the stupid transport laws and still mostly the same if you don’t have a CPL.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      Sorry I skimmed your post but, AGREE. They should get the same outcome as the rapper that carried ‘illegally’ in LAX or as the Pilot that skirted and again ‘illegal’ through several US airports one I think NJ (firearm hell state #?).

      NOTHING (I don’t count community service).

      The issue here is not what they did or how they did it. The issue, as I think you note, is the corrupt justice system. If they were in Chicago AND proven criminals they would have been caught and released. Justice is not blind and this is our greatest threat right now.

  9. avatar Hank says:

    “Baker was wearing a black ski mask and body armor with a sidearm strapped to his hip and a rifle on a sling; Vreeland carried a camera to memorialize the event which can be seen below (with more NSFW language.)”

    These two morons need to be in prison. Anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to storm into a police station, yelling and wearing a mask while armed, are no friends to the 2a community, and sound like the type of hot heads who go around looking for a confrontation. A few years in prison will be good for these idiots.

    1. avatar The Punisher says:

      Interesting. Tell me your thoughts on the Boston Tea Party. It would seem that act and those participants would meet your same criteria here no?

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Interesting. Tell me your thoughts on the Boston Tea Party. It would seem that act and those participants would meet your same criteria here no?”

        Yo, dude !

        There is a correct and acceptable way to exercise your second amendment rights; do it the way I think is OK. Otherwise, you are an idiot, undeserving my support. If you exercise your right in a manner I find unreasonable, polite, correct, then you deserve whatever outcome the righteous police and courts apply,

        /s (is this notation really necessary, here?)

  10. avatar Higgs says:

    Ok I can not blame the cops. If I am in there shoes and see this pair coming in I would have detained and arrested these guys for disturbing the peace.

    Some might use the first amendment right to protest, but What they did is real close to walking in a theater and yelling fire.

    Now the charges filed do seem execive but that is a gamble they choose to take given the way the protested.

  11. avatar Kevin says:

    Play stupid games…

    1. avatar Hank says:

      Bingo. Beware what you wish for. You might just get it.

  12. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    I open carry all the time. These two guys are stupid and deserve to go to jail. Open carry is not a joke. It is not for wearing masks like Liberal Antifa gun owners at a pro trump rally. Anyone who open carries a gun but wears a mask is just repeating the actions of the Klu Klux Klan. And if you don’t know history then just go to jail.

    1. avatar Rick says:

      I’m in KY too, with a CCDW, so if these guys would have done that in any store I was at, I’m pretty sure I would have looked to defend myself, and KY law would absolutely been on my side.

      These guys are EXTREMELY lucky, those cops were much more calm than these too jokers had any hope of. If they’d have walked into 10 stations, they would have been shot in 9, 99/100. Pure luck.

      1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

        I’m sorry, but the law is NOT “absolutely on my side”. The mere presence of an openly carried weapon does NOT constitute a deadly threat, which must be present in a defensive shooting. You have just co-opted every argument the anti-gunners use about the carriage of weapons. These 2 idiots did NOT point weapons nor did they verbalize any threatening language. There was no act that implied or otherwise, that any reasonable person would’ve have deemed your life was in imminent danger.

        1. avatar Rick says:

          If you reasonably believe that it is a violent encounter is about to happen, and by your action can defend yourself or others, and as long as the person isn’t a peace officer, it is reasonable and justifiable. If a man entering a building that your in, wearing a ski mask to obscure there face (actually illegal already, not that I agree, but its a response to the Antifa shenanigans), wearing body armor (or a LBV, can’t really tell in the video), with an AK at low ready, screaming incoherently doesn’t meet that, I don’t know what does. You are under no obligation to retreat, or wait for them to initiate violence.

          If you’ve seen the Bataclan attacks in Paris, San Bernadino, or any ISIS video, he’s wearing the uniform, so shouldn’t be surprised if he’s treated as one.

          What level of moral certainty do you need to act? that’s not a legal definition, that’s personal, just like what they did was legal, their actions can have repercussions that others can react to in which case can also be reasonable,legal and fatal.

          Here is our relevant regulations regarding this…

          503.050 Use of physical force in self-protection — Admissibility of evidence of
          prior acts of domestic violence and abuse.
          (1) The use of physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when the defendant
          believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against the use or imminent use of unlawful
          physical force by the other person.
          (2) The use of deadly physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable under subsection
          (1) only when the defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect himself against death,
          serious physical injury, kidnapping, sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat, felony involving the
          use of force, or under those circumstances permitted pursuant to KRS 503.055.
          (3) Any evidence presented by the defendant to establish the existence of a prior act or acts of domestic
          violence and abuse as defined in KRS 403.720 by the person against whom the defendant is charged
          with employing physical force shall be admissible under this section.
          (4) A person does not have a duty to retreat prior to the use of deadly physical force.

          503.070 Protection of another.
          (1) The use of physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when:
          (a) The defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect a third person against the use or
          imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person; and
          (b) Under the circumstances as the defendant believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect
          would himself have been justified under KRS 503.050 and 503.060 in using such protection.
          (2) The use of deadly physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when:
          3
          3
          (a) The defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect a third person against imminent death,
          serious physical injury, kidnapping, sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat, or other felony
          involving the use of force, or under those circumstances permitted pursuant to KRS 503.055; and
          (b) Under the circumstances as they actually exist, the person whom he seeks to protect would himself
          have been justified under KRS 503.050 and 503.060 in using such protection.
          (3) A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
          503.080 Protection of property.
          (1) The use of physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when the defendant
          believes that such force is immediately necessary to prevent:
          (a) The commission of criminal trespass, robbery, burglary, or other felony involving the use of force, or
          under those circumstances permitted pursuant to KRS 503.055, in a dwelling, building or upon real
          property in his possession or in the possession of another person for whose protection he acts; or
          (b) Theft, criminal mischief, or any trespassory taking of tangible, movable property in his possession or in
          the possession of another person for whose protection he acts.
          (2) The use of deadly physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable under subsection
          (1) only when the defendant believes that the person against whom such force is used is:
          (a) Attempting to dispossess him of his dwelling otherwise than under a claim of right to its possession; or
          (b) Committing or attempting to commit a burglary, robbery, or other felony involving the use of force, or
          under those circumstances permitted pursuant to KRS 503.055, of such dwelling; or
          (c) Committing or attempting to commit arson of a dwelling or other building in his possession.
          (3) A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Chris T in KY,

      So, if you are openly carrying a handgun or rifle and it is 5 degrees outside, you cannot wear a mask to cover your face and prevent frostbite?

      I didn’t realize that we have to choose between being armed for self-defense and being covered to prevent frostbite.

      1. avatar Timothy says:

        I love hypotheticals! 5 degrees out? Why not ask if they were carrying on the moon and HAD to wear a space suit helmet?!? Since we’re talking about things that don’t apply here.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Timothy,

          Tens of millions of people routinely experience air/windchill temperatures of 5 degrees F. every year … and they routinely wear masks to protect their faces from those conditions. That is a FACT, not hypothetical. According to Chris T in KY, those people in the Northern United States forfeit their right to carry openly visible firearms.

          This is the problem with arbitrary and capricious — in other words emotionally motivated — infringement of rights.

        2. avatar Rick says:

          Exactly.

          And not just wearing a ski mask, if he was naked but for the ski mask, probably would have been more illegal, but less serious.

          He was fully tacticooled up, entering a building (with his buddy filming it for effect), yelling, specifically to draw a response. Due to a traffic ticket, supposedly.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        uncommon_sense
        Really? I thought you used common sense.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      Chris T in KY does that also apply to “SWAT” cowboys breaking and entering?

      1. avatar Rick says:

        Here in KY, basically if you gently threaten to tickle fight a cop, your in jeopardy. They have basically a 100% shield. Yes, there may be an instance that you could figure out that may make a defensive use on a cop legal. But generally, at least here, your screwed.

        That’s just the law, and the law doesn’t really reflect right, wrong, or justice.

      2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        neiowa

        “Man Dies in Police Raid on Wrong House”

        http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=95475&page=1

        “Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.”

        I think the police should be shot in the face in self-defense during a no knock raid on the wrong house. This was 70 miles from my house. And I’m still angry about it.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          The fact that these two fools with guns have supporters just shows how the modern gun community has learned nothing. It is one thing to be passionate in your speech while carrying a gun in public. As the black Panthers are. They are not getting to many recruits. They are rude nasty people with guns. And these two white men are just as rude and nasty.
          You walk into a building public or private and act a fool while openly carrying a gun and get shot. I will find the shooter not guilty if I’m on the jury.

          If anyone is really serious about growing the gun community then try being POLITE in public when you open carry!!!!!

        2. avatar Roymond says:

          This is the sort of thing the NRA should be speaking up about.

  13. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “… if an act is legal, why do we demand criminal prosecutions when someone undertakes that legal act?”

    Really? That is an honest question? We all know why…..there is no penalty for putting gun owners in jail, regardless of whether a charge has merit. Prosecutors do not pay for appeals of capricious prosecution. Prosecutors are immune from just about everything but murdering a defendant in the well of the court, during trial.

    Intimidation. Pure and simple. With no punishment, if you had the power to ruin a life as a means to make a point, would you care if you won or lost?

  14. avatar Sam I Am says:

    The second amendment is just like the first. We don’t have to agree with how 2A is legally exercised, we don’t even have to like the people making a point that the second amendment is THE relevant authority for possessing and carrying a gun. The second amendment ensures the protection of the rights of a disgusting citizen. If we must be “respectable” persons so as to not offend the anti-freedom newts, then we are fostering our own gun control affinity..

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      + eleventy billion!

  15. avatar Smith says:

    These dumb asses deserved to be arrested. They are lucky they weren’t the wrong ethnicity.

  16. avatar former water walker says:

    Forgive my naive comment but WHUT was the point of this stupid shite? YouTube video? Street cred? Impressing chicks?!? Barging into a po-leece station like retarded ninjas…

    1. The point was to expose tyranny. Mission accomplished.
      It is similar to a draw Muhammad contest to expose terrorists.

      1. avatar Citizen Veteran says:

        They did not expose tyranny only their own stupidity.

        Both are lucky to be alive.

        1. So you agree that a person with a valid CPL should be convicted of not placing a gun in a proper storage container without a CPL, with no evidence?
          They were stupid, you are an asshole.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Michael in GA,

          The situation is even worse than that. Government has no legitimate authority to require that someone must only transport a handgun unloaded, in a container, in the trunk of a vehicle. Whether or not the person obtained a “license” from government is irrelevant.

        3. avatar Roymond says:

          Oh, they certainly exposed tyranny; the cops plainly didn’t give a shit what the law says or about their job to follow it, they just wanted to exercise force to have their way — and that’s tyranny.

          They certainly weren’t smart about it, but the incident shows that the cops there have regard neither for the law nor the citizens who are their employers.

  17. avatar Quest says:

    I agree with the other comments here that their tactics could use a lot of coaching (e.g. slinging the rifles to their backs so as to not cause undue alarm and avoid being shot).

    That’s said, charging them on a legal technicality for a 5 year sentence, based on a legal technicality, found on a youtube video shot at another time, is quite sketchy to say the least; frankly it looks to be an attempt to punish them for their audacity of a public legal protest. This overzealous prosecution reminds me of what the first head of the KGB is quoted to have said to Stalin, “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” A prescient reminder that he panopticon (permanent internet record) will forever be watching you (so consult a lawyer before idioting).

    I hope sincerely that these activist persevere against the state’s prosecution. If they put up a go fund me, I’ll definitely provide help.

  18. avatar Carrucan says:

    Michigan Open Carry Idiots Convicted on ‘Technicality’

    FIFY

  19. avatar Don from CT says:

    Is it a felony CCW conviction or a felony gun possession conviction.

    p.sst. Words have MEANING. The term CCW is perhaps the dumbest literary creation by the gun community EVER.

    Look!! It’s a (gerund) verb!! – I was CCWing through the park one day . . . .

    Look!!! It can replace the word “gun” almost anywhere with an acronym that is obtuse and actually contains more sylables and keystrokes than the word it is meant to replace!!!!!

    Friends don’t let Friends CCW – Oh wait, another verb.

    Don

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      “CCW” has particular meaning in Michigan. The criminal offense for carrying a concealed firearm without a license is typically referred to as “Carrying a Concealed Weapon” because its section of the code (MCL 750.227) also encompasses daggers, dirks, stilettos, double-edged nonfolding stabbing instruments of any length, or any other dangerous weapons…but not hunting knives.

      It is a felony potentially punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2500 fine.

      I am not a *** Michigan *** attorney, so consult with someone who is if you need specific advice about Michigan law; the above is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.

    2. avatar Steve says:

      Concealed carry is manufactured back in the day when open carry was fine and only criminals carried concealed so, it was then made ‘bad’ to carry concealed. Now the reverse can be seen. Anti’s, perhaps you, don’t want any guns anywhere but, many are so incensed about seeing a gun in the open it is driving them nuts. So, open carry in some places is ‘bad’. We don’t want to drive anyone nuts. But, there is that right to carry (and of course the anti’s don’t surely want to take guns, it is a right after all) so we ‘allow’ certain upstanding individuals to carry as is all our right but please, don’t display your firearm and pretend you don’t have one. Can’t have people going nuts.

      Googling, CCW’ing, searching, gun carrying. Welcome to the era of creative language.

    3. avatar Carrucan says:

      CCW is a community and interest-specific term. Just as ATV’ing describes a manner in which the ATV is being used (as opposed to riding your ATV on the street), CCW’ing immediately conveys to the reader that they were carrying in a concealed manner and the term should be germane to the conversation. Outside of our community, CCW’ing would not make much sense, just as QRP’ing or SOTA’ing may not make sense outside of the ham radio community. Relax, Don – you’re among friends. “Gerund-ing” CCW is just shorthand in our community for carrying your weapon in a concealed manner and shouldn’t offend you. Surely something in your career or interests offers examples similar and recognizable to those in your profession or who participate in your hobby or interest?

  20. avatar Timao Theos says:

    “Life is hard, its harder when you are stupid.”

  21. avatar Marco says:

    That was terrible.

    The video, and the joker wearing a mask while carrying a rifle definitely could afford to have charges thrown at him.

    But throwing charges at the camera man demonstrates this is more about retribution than purely following the law.

    What did the cameraman do to “disturb the peace”? Perhaps a “conspiracy to disturb the peace” but how did filming this event disturb the peace?

    These two were stupid, and if they’d been ventilated while performing this, it likely would have been very, very justified.

    However, the after-the-fact nature and heavy-handed convictions demonstrate this is more about making an example of them. Maybe making an example of stupid people, but it still rings more of retribution than justice.

    1. avatar Rick says:

      I think that’s generally where I fall. If, well at least the guy doing the range ninja schtick, was killed by the police, no way would the cops be in jeopardy, legally, if the Philando Castille cop was innocent, then these would have been fine.

      But the nitpicky nature of the conviction, was kind of silly. I agree that the jury basically found them guilty of stupid, and applied it to anything they could. The judge could have tossed the verdict, the appellate probably will. Stupid shouldn’t equal jail, although they could have been up for a Darwin award.

  22. avatar doesky2 says:

    Disappointing that 12 people would agree “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the gun wasn’t placed into a suitable container in the trunk when nobody could see inside the trunk.

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Mr. Makowski indicated to me that the video involving the trunk might be on YouTube, but I could not find it in a timely fashion. Absent that evidence, I can only speculate as follows. Either:

      (1) The jury disagreed with Makowski and honestly believed that the video left no room for doubt about the final resting place of the pistol before the trunk was closed, or
      (2) The jury thought these two defendants were fools who should be off the streets, so they stretched the evidence available to get a conviction on something, and this was the best they could do.

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        I can believe the second; I was on a jury once where one lady wanted to convict because the guy “Had to be guilty of SOMEthing!”

  23. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    I am concerned about all the folks here hammering these two “dim bulbs”. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t the shining example of gun owners. However undeserving they may be, when they are persecuted by the state we are all diminished. Same as when someone is prevented from speaking a message we find abhorrent.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      A point to always keep in mind! Justice delayed is justice denied, and justice misused is also justice denied.

      There needs to be a law that if a jury decides the arrest was stupid, the cop gets the punishment the court would have bestowed if the accused had been found guilty.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “There needs to be a law that if a jury decides the arrest was stupid, the cop gets the punishment the court would have bestowed if the accused had been found guilty.”

        A truly marvelous idea.

        But would there be a wide-spread, horrendous, manifestation of the “Ferguson Effect”? If only just to stick a LEO finger in the eye of the public?

        1. avatar mach37 says:

          I just watched a body-cam YouTube of a black guy sitting on a porch, some neighbor had called in a possible break & enter. A girl cop was first on scene and it seemed his presence on the porch was legal & innocent. Then some guy cops arrived and it gradually escalated into a ‘punch and shackle’ and cart him off to the hoosegow, that was totally senseless. Those cops resigned when it was clear they would lose the case, but they really deserved a jail sentence themselves for ruining the police’s reputation.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Yup.

          Sorta interesting the cops weren’t found to be acting “in good faith”, like all those SWAT teams who assault and kill at the wrong address.

    2. avatar mach37 says:

      You have to wonder why, in order to complain about a driving ticket, the guy had to dress up like a SWAT team member and carry a rifle to make his complaint. Since he had a cameraman, he obviously expected to create a scene.

  24. avatar Gregolas says:

    One thing you learn very early on in criminal law career, some people are just too stupid to be free.

  25. avatar Jared says:

    This is fake news.

    They aren’t “open carry activists” at all.

  26. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    How often are masked officers that swat the wrong house charged with disturbing the peace, brandishing, etc.

    Oh.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Pwwwwwang ! Go out and play.”

      Winner !

  27. avatar Cory Vickers says:

    Dearborn ranks number one in the nation in the number of terrorist suspects. That you can walk in a police station there with a rifle, a gun, a ballistic vest and your face covered and not expect any consequences is insane. This is natural selection at its best. Idiots get killed, weeded out or denied the right to have dangerous tools. Two outstanding contestants for the Darwin Awards. So long, idiots.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Perhaps, but irrelevant. The only two questions are easy: did they actually violate the law, and was the law a just one? If there is doubt as to either question, the jury’s duty is to set the accused free.

  28. avatar JoeMoma says:

    They would have kept digging until they found something to nail them with right down to jaywalking across the street to the station. Expensive lesson.

  29. avatar James69 says:

    Down south we call these charges “P-O-P” – Pissing off the Police. Foolishness that backfired, these “social warriors” should have stuck to fake book protests.

  30. avatar Cory Vickers says:

    Dearborn ranks first in the nation in the number of terrorist suspects. Thinking that you can walk in a police station there with a rifle, a gun, a ballistic vest and your face covered and not expect any consequences is insane. This is natural selection at its best. Stupid “activists” get killed, weeded out or denied the right to have dangerous tools. Two outstanding contestants for the Darwin Awards. So long, idiots.

  31. avatar cisco kid says:

    I learned many years ago “The cops do not uphold the law, they make it up as they go along”. I once asked a local cop that if I carried openly, even though in my State it had been legal for decades, if he could arrest me. He laughed and rattled off a half a dozen offenses he could charge me with and make them stick. I learned right then and their the law is one thing but reality is completely different. Case 2: A very well known and rich upper elite industrialist was caught with a loaded mini-14 in the trunk of his care. Completely illegal but when the cops discovered who this guy was they let him go without even a warning. He was Mr. elite and could have through his influence had them all fired for just doing their jobs but once again, the law is one thing and reality is quite another. To think the U.S. is not as corrupt as most 3rd world countries that also have a total disrespect for the law is to live in a fantasy world.

  32. avatar Chad says:

    I live near Dearborn and I am familiar with the Dearborn Police. They are well trained and displayed remarkable restraint during this incident. Approximately one year prior to this incident a man walked into the Dearborn Police station and shot two officers before being shot by officers. Excellent job by the officers!

    People like the two that were arrested are the reason some states are pushing to outlaw open carry. As far as the legal issue, I don’t believe a CCW violation will be supported on appeal. In my opinion, Disorderly Persons, Disturbing the Peace, Brandishing a Firearm in Public would be appropriate charges.

    1. avatar Johannes Paulsen says:

      Jury disagreed, not guilty on brandishing.

      Not many people want to go to the mat for these guys. And that’s fine. I guess most are willing to concede that even though it remains a perfectly legal act in Michigan, open carrying a firearm into a police station is not a “right” (or perhaps I should say “privilege”) that we want to go to the mat for either. So if the prosecutors can’t nail them for their specific acts, they should try to bring them down on something.

      It’s already illegal in most other places anyway, so maybe it isn’t a big deal, but in general it would be nice to gain some kind of political concession if we in the gun rights community, are going to cash in a statutory chip like that.

  33. avatar gargoil says:

    sorry these two are idiots and got what they wanted, attention. end of story.

    1. They got more than that. A felony conviction is a little more than attention. A bullshit conviction at that.

  34. avatar Robert says:

    Those imbeciles got off too easy. I would have absolutely no sympathy for them if they had been shot dead. There’s a vast difference between exercising your rights and provoking a tense, armed confrontation, which is exactly what these two neanderthals, quite intentionally, did. They are exactly the sort of scoundrels that even our founding fathers would have forcibly disarmed.

  35. avatar Gunr says:

    It may be legal, but it’s just plan stupid, they are lucky to be alive!

  36. avatar Jeep1967 says:

    While I don’t think what these guys did was the smartest way to make their point, I do support their right to do so. My take on this is that you are free to exercise your rights, but the legal system will do everything in their power to punish you in order to dissuade you or prevent you from being able to legally exercise those rights in the future. Note that I don’t think this is always the case. I have seen some open carry encounters with police that were handled very professionally.

    I personally prefer to carry concealed, but do not think people should be discouraged from open carrying where it is legal to do so. I know many people who believe that requiring a license to carry concealed is an infringement of their Second Amendment rights. So they refuse to jump through hoops and pay for a right and, instead, choose to open carry since there is no licensing requirement to do so where they live. I also know that people who open carry face discrimination from the public, the police and even some “people of the gun”.

    The right to bear arms is not dependent on the method of carrying those arms and the legal exercise of that right should be supported and any effort to suppress the exercise of that right (such as trumped up charges, illegal detainment, etc.) should be resisted.

  37. avatar Hannibal says:

    Criminal stupidity needs to be addressed sometimes.

    And you don’t get ‘convicted on a technicality.’ Technicalities get you off, not in jail. When you get convicted based on a technicality that just means you broke the law and got caught.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      No, getting convicted on a technicality means you got clobbered by a prosecutor who cares about neither truth nor justice, but only racking up “wins”.

      We have one of those here. A friend of mine was on an open release from prison recently. He landed a job in another county, one that would have enabled him to pay all his fines in just months, get his own place to live, and start a new life. But the prosecutor refused to sign off on him leaving the county, even though there are no such jobs here, and most certainly knowing that eventually one of the people my friend wasn’t supposed to be in contact with would walk up to him on the street and begin talking. Sure enough, that happened, and it didn’t matter that my friend was trying to tell the guy to get lost, the prosecutor revoked the release and got his “win”.

      The judge even admitted that sending my friend back to prison didn’t serve anyone’s interest, neither his nor the state’s, but the technicalities of the law didn’t leave the judge room for any discretion. And since the prosecutor is on the judge’s re-election committee, the judge couldn’t even admonish the prosecutor.

      That’s not uncommon, either. Parole and probation officers know that the law says that their “clients” have to obey all orders from the P.O., so if they get tired of a “client” they just issue an order they know can’t be obeyed — a favorite being to require an answer to a question that is phrased so it can’t be answered without lying, so if the “client” doesn’t answer, he goes to jail, and if he answers, he goes to jail.

      BTW, when my dad wrote to legislators about this, they didn’t even care if the orders given by a P.O. were lawful, only if the law allowed a P.O. to give whatever orders he wanted.

      1. avatar Steve says:

        Should have been a civil rights case with a huge lawsuit. Only way to turn this around. On the basis of what you wrote they denied him by a procedure that is supposed to be governed by constitutional foundation his right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The intent is for the person not to flee a jurisdiction. The intent is not for the state to deny reasonable request(s). IMHO

  38. avatar Adub says:

    I don’t have much sympathy for them but then again, I’m not an asshole. And if I decided to be an asshole and take on The Man, well, I’m man enough to accept the consequences of my actions.

    The people defending them want to ignore their manner of carry, their behavior, and their attire. People are so open-minded their brains have fallen out.

    Maybe they should have walked into a bank like that and said they wanted to make a withdrawal…

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      Their “manner of carry, their behavior, and their attire” are irrelevant unless they were against some law, so of course people are ignoring those. That’s essential for justice and the maintenance of a free state.

      1. avatar mach37 says:

        Roymond said: “Their ‘manner of carry, their behavior, and their attire’ are irrelevant unless they were against some law …”
        Manner, behavior and attire ARE relevant – always!!! Entering a police station looking like an armed ISIS jihadist with a TV journalist in tow makes their attire and behavior extremely relevant.

        Your previous comment about police being “statists serving and protecting themselves” – that has been forced upon them by the likes of BLM; cops will never get back to being peace officers as long as they are targets of SJWs, and just about everyone who thinks they know more about the law than law enforcement officers.

  39. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    There are a number of things that most people on here do not know. I don’t blame you, typical news stories haven’t brought this stuff out, you’d have to follow it very closely with primary sources to know a lot of it. For example:

    a) these two are well known to the Dearborn PD as well as many other PDs in Michigan
    b) the DPD knew they were coming, and in fact had been watching their videos on Jackson Cop Block prior to them entering the station
    c) a DPD officer was caught on audio saying, “I don’t care if it’s legal, we aren’t going to let them do that.”
    d) a questionable search warrant gave the DPD more evidence used to sway the jury
    e) after the trial, a juror flatly stated that he liked one of the defense attorneys a lot, and would hire him himself, but the video just plain did the guys in. In other words, it just looked bad.

    There’s other stuff as well (DPD perjury, etc.) but you get the gist. There will be an appeal after sentencing in August.

  40. avatar bdgben says:

    Am I supposed to feel sorry for these idiots? They walked into a police station with a black mask, body armor and a gun. That was just stupid. Why do people have to push cops buttons by doing stuff like this?

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      The simple answer is that they are pushing the limits to see how cops react. It is a test.

      1. avatar bdgben says:

        I just do not see why people need to test cops. There job is already hard enough. Luckily they acted professionally in this case. Any reasonable cops would draw there guns when some idiots with black masks, body armor and, as far as they know, guns came into a police station.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          This post will explain exactly why, in detail, James and company do this stuff. You may not agree–I don’t agree–but it answers your question.

          http://libertyisforeveryone.com/2016/11/what-is-an-independent-police-auditor/

    2. avatar Roymond says:

      Any cop that can’t keep his cool when “some idiot” pushes his buttons isn’t fit to be dealing with the public. The relationship between cops and the pubic should be a lot like that between recruits and drill sergeants: no matter what abuse the sergeant/public dishes out, the recruit/cop should respond with eager respect.

      1. avatar bdgben says:

        Luckily the police did not overreact. When a person comes into a police station with a black mask, armor and, a reasonable cop would assume, more than the one weapon visible then the police would be insane not to perceive a potential dangerous threat. The nice people in the reception areas of police stations are not armed. I think anyone who “tests” cops like this is an idiot. They already have a difficult job. Why do morons intentionally have to make it more difficult.

  41. avatar mach37 says:

    Walking into any business, never mind a police station, wearing a mask and carrying a rifle raises a LOT of suspicion. If I had been in those policemen’s shoes I would have done exactly the same thing. Many policemen had recently been killed and the duo should have known they would be on edge.

  42. avatar Alan M. says:

    Never fails to amaze me when some fools, under the guise of being “gun activists” do something REALLY STUPID, and then cry the blues when they’re arrested for it, and/or convicted of a crime. Incidents like this make the pro-gun agenda in general, as well as the rest of us law-abiding citizens, look bad. Why actively go seeking a run-in with the cops? These guys are idiots who got exactly what they deserved… You do really stupid sh!t, you get in trouble. Simple logic that defy some.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Do you consider stupid statements unworthy of protection under the first amendment? Or perhaps you would support a definition of “illegitimate” speech that is not protected?

      Or perhaps, you would term someone “stupid” for legally openly carrying a firearm into a permitted location, but the result was fear and loathing on the part of people not accustomed to seeing firearms in their presence? How ’bout if such an action resulted in some fearful person claiming they feel threatened, and calling police?

      The issue here whether or not the two convicted felons violated any firearm law, not whether they are “stupid”. If it is legal in a jurisdiction to openly carry a firearm, and one walks by the police station during shift change, is that “stupid”? If such person is arrested on gun charges because the police didn’t know the individual, the individual was dressed in cammo, and wearing a watch cap and wrap around sunglasses, and the individual just looked “hinky”, would that be considered “stupid”?

      Supporting police and judicial intimidation in resistance to exercising any of your rights is outright self-imposed gun control; an admission that the second amendment is truly a second-class right, to be exercised only with permission of those in power, and those around you.

      1. avatar Hooty says:

        No, that wouldn’t be stupid, but that’s not what happened here. Free speech is great, but that does not make yelling “fire” in a crowded theater okay. This is a very similar situation. I’d be willing to bet that if they didn’t wear ski masks or body armor, left the camera in the pocket, and didn’t come in with a stupid attitude that they would have been just fine. It’s not the rifles that got these guys arrested, it was the fact that they were very specifically looking for a confrontation.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Setting aside the fact that there are circumstances where yelling, “Fire” in a crowded theater is perfectly legal speech, doing stupid stuff within the law is lawful; period. The issue here is not stupid people doing stupid stuff in stupid places. The issue here is the “stupid guys” were convicted regardless of their lawful status. That should be something 2A supporters resist, every time. We should not be in the position of defending/supporting only those people who meet our idea of what is “smart”, or “acceptable”.

        2. avatar Hooty says:

          While I can agree that they shouldn’t have been convicted, I would hope that you can agree that these are the people that give us a bad name. If one really wants open carry to be legal and socially acceptable, going around in ski masks and body armor with “scary rifles” for the sole purpose of making people uncomfortable does not further our cause.
          While I agree they *shouldn’t* have been convicted, maybe this story will make someone else think twice before they give gun nuts a bad name. Maybe they’ll instead choose to just open carry like a normal person and actually make open carry more socially acceptable.

        3. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Yes, there are people who avoid being prudent in their behavior. Such people, though, cannot be completely dismissed simply because they are attempting to demonstrate the lawful exercise of their rights. Admittedly, doing things like these two guys could end your exercise in freedom, permanently.

        4. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          We should not be in the position of defending/supporting only those people who meet our idea of what is “smart”, or “acceptable”.

          Well said.

        5. avatar Sam I Am says:

          Happy to be here. Grateful for the opportunity. Proud to serve.

  43. avatar J_cobbers says:

    Legal or not, Mrs. Gump always said it best, “stupid is as stupid does.”
    I hope that they do win on appeal, but I also hope they get a bit smarter, or a bit more common sense.

  44. avatar Chad says:

    If these two “activists ” walked into your place of business in the same manner, how would you react? Would you embrace them and support them as “open carry” activists? Or would you call 911 and ask the police (the same police many of you scorn) for help. What if they responded “We are not sending any officers, they are exercising their Constitutional Rights. Sorry if your business has been disturbed. Please call back if they shoot anyone and we will send a police officer. ” Would that be an appropriate response to your call for help?

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      Are you proposing that the second amendment is subject to “feelz”? That because a constitutionally protected right makes people uncomfortable, one should exercise such rights only when assured no one is uncomfortable with it?

      Any other element of the constitution you feel should be circumscribed by “good manners”?

  45. avatar Matt S says:

    I live in Michigan. My CPL instructor (retired special forces) said in the class that those two clowns are lucky to be alive after pulling their shenanigans. He also said that they are not a good example of 2A activists. He had no respect for them.

  46. avatar CJ says:

    They were assholes, they got treated like assholes. The charges will be overturned on appeal, but the point was made. There are plenty of gun rights advocates that are quite adept at promoting gun culture. These were two who were not.

  47. avatar Mikial says:

    These guys are idiots and the kind of people who give the Liberals fodder for their gun owner stereotypes of fools. They are lucky the police didn’t drop them where they stood when they walked in like they did.

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