Friday, July 13, 2012

Birmingham Open Carry Case - NOT GUILTY!

There was no crime committed here at all. Frankly, this shouldn't even have gone to trial, and I hope Sean and his attorneys look at appropiate legal measures in response to overzealous law enforcement and an overzealous city attorney. This was a travesty, and a firearm carried over the shoulder is not brandishing.

From the Detroit News


A recent Troy High School graduate was acquitted Thursday of all charges in his arrest for carrying a rifle in downtown Birmingham.
A jury in 48th District Court found Sean M. Combs, 18, not guilty of brandishing a firearm and disturbing the peace.
Judge Marc Barron on Wednesday had issued a directed verdict dismissing a charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer after Combs' attorney, James Makowski, argued that city attorney Mary Kucharek had not proven that offense.
"I think they came up with the right verdict," Combs said after his acquittal. "It took them a while, but at the end of the day, I think it was the right decision."
Outside the courtroom, Combs was all smiles as he hugged his mother, Pam Mytnik. His older brothers, Chris and Patrick Combs, and girlfriend, Lia Grabowski, also were present.
Mytnik said she hopes the case encourages people to learn the law. "I just think everyone needs to know the laws before we make arrests, and I would like to see that in the future," she said.
Combs' attorney said he was pleased with the verdict.
"I've said from the beginning this is not a gun rights case, this is a civil rights case," Makowski said. Kucharek declined to comment on the verdict.
Throwing in the catch-all bullshit made it worse. I second this quote 100%. 
Certainly his choice to open carry and his understanding of the law and the validity of the law have all been vindicated," said John Pierce, co-founder and spokesman for OpenCarry.org. "But what this was really a victory for is the fact that you can't use these nebulous provisions such as disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct as a way of chilling behavior that is otherwise legal."
Notice who didn't prosecute this case. It wasn't the county prosecutor. This was a city attorney who prosecuted this case. County didn't touch it.
I am a 2nd Amendment absolutist when it comes to rights and laws against it although I personally choose not to open carry. Open carry is however legal, and should continue to be legal. Period. However, I personally believe in using appropriate discretion. Sometimes, things that are legal are bad tactics. While open carry of a long gun is legal and should be legal, I question the judgment of long gun open carry in an urban or suburban setting. I've seen open carry of long guns quite often and have open carried them myself during hunting season. I would not open carry my shotgun in downtown Brighton. In parts of the Brighton Rec Area nearby, it'd hardly raise an eyebrow. Most people would assume that it was a hunter. 

I think someone who open carries should get a belt holster, get a pistol, and carry it on the side. It's not going to draw the same attention as long-gun carry does. I've seen that much more often, and I haven't seen anyone comment about it.

Whether you agree or disagree though with the judgment that Combs used, the bottom line here that there was a shady prosecution for a legal behavior that violates a social norm in Birmingham, long known as a very anti-gun area. Just because you may not like the behavior, doesn't mean it's okay to try and toss someone into jail and give a record over it. Using catchall and creative technicalities is an evil technique that needs to be slapped down hard. Certain law enforcement agencies and city attorneys need to be held accountable for this and face consequences. This prosecution is ten times more criminal than anything Sean Combs did. 



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