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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gun arrested in Michingan....

by Neil W. McCabe, Guns & Patriots

His 1942 M-1 Garand slung on his back, a senior at nearby Troy High School was walking his girlfriend on April 13 through Birmingham, Mich., and did not expect an arrest.

"It was a Friday night around 10:30-ish, I'd say," said Sean M. Combs, who graduated June 9 and will start college in the fall. "We were in the downtown area and two lovely law officers walked by."

Combs said one of the two female police officers gave him a strange double-take look and called him out. "She asked me if I thought I was out of my mind. She then asked me what I thought I was doing with the rifle. I told her: 'Nothing.'"

At this point, Combs should have expected his arrest. When he declined to provide an ID, the lady officers called for backup. Soon, there were two male officers and a small crowd.

"Before I was stopped nobody looked twice, nobody was saying: 'Oh my, God! Nobody called. There were no problems until they showed up,'" he said.

"One of the male officers told me if I didn't show ID, he would take me in for obstruction of justice," he said. Combs relented and as he extended his arm to give his ID to one of the females, one of the male cops grabbed his arm, twisted it behind Combs' back and knocked him to the ground.

The teenager said they took his M-1 and charged him with three misdemeanors: obstructing and resisting police, brandishing a weapon and disturbing the peace. His evidentiary hearing is June 20.

Attorney and law professor Steven W. Dulan said the problem the police and prosecutors face is that both the M-1 and carrying one in the open are legal in Michigan, which explains why the actual charges do not address what triggered the interest of the police in the first place. "I am not familiar with the facts of the case, but as a defense attorney, I am well acquainted with the concept of over-charging." He is not associated with the case.

Dulan, who is on the board of directors of The Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, said one reason for the police to respond how they did may be a lack of understanding of Michigan law.

Before MCRGO led the fight more than 10 years ago to change Michigan's concealed carry law from "May Issue" to a "Shall Issue" each of the state's 83 counties had its own gun laws, he said.

With the new concealed carry law, the state also asserted "preemption," which meant that local gun ordinances could not be more restrictive than state law, he said. Despite the time passed and new training, many Michigan police officers are ignorant of state law and still operate as if the old ordinances were still in effect.

In the meantime, Combs said he is looking forward to getting his M-1 back. "It's a fun rifle. They're accurate, reliable and they've got a great history. I just love them."

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