The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows for all citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones by granting gun ownership rights to all Americans. But over the years, those rights have been impeded by what seems to be a laundry list of requirements gun owners must meet in order to be able to actually carry their firearm on their person. In fact, if someone doesn’t have a squeaky clean record, they’re more than likely not going to be able to carry a firearm in many U.S. states. Fortunately, law abiding citizens are undeterred in their efforts to exercise their rights to carry a weapon for self-defense. But to describe the inequities that still exist, we bring to you two videos of encounters with police by Michigan residents who choose to exercise their rights to open and concealed carry.
The first involves what is reported to have taken place in Flat Rock, Michigan. Two men, one named “Doc” and another unidentified man, were carrying AR-15s, slung around their shoulders and walking down the roadside in broad daylight.
Of course, almost immediately, neighbors called police who quickly responded and approached the two men. After a brief explanation as to why the two men were walking down the road, armed with so-called assault rifles, the men were allowed to go on their way, as they were committing no crimes by openly carrying their firearms.
The difference between openly carrying and brandishing a weapon is when someone is brandishing their weapon, they’re not only showing they have a weapon but are presenting it as if they’re ready to open fire on someone or something. The differences, unfortunately, are left to the interpretation of the responding officers, who could determine if your weapon is in your hand then you’re brandishing it. So care must be taken if anyone attempts to repeat what the two men were doing.
Both men thanked Officer Mitchell for speaking with them and attempting to understand their motives for exercising their rights to carry their firearms openly.
In the video below, Officer Mitchel provides an excellent example of how and why police officers should uphold the rights of citizens. Bravo, officer Mitchell.
To contrast officer Mitchell’s response, consider the following incident. The next video describes what happened to one an who possessed a CPL (Concealed Pistol License) and was picking up food he’d ordered at a fast food restaurant. This man happens to be black.
It was probably a wise idea for Elijah Woody to broadcast live to Facebook his encounter with police that day. Woody said he parked beside the patrolman’s police cruiser so he knew they were inside the establishment. He looked on the door for a sticker saying firearms were not allowed inside the establishment and proceeded inside.
It was at that time the two officers who were seated, noticed the Black man and what appeared to be a bulge coming from his waistband. They approached Woody and asked to see his CPL. It’s at that moment he chose to begin recording. We’re glad he did.
We can clearly see the two officers standing patiently for Woody to produce his CPL, which he did. By the way, it is arguably more difficult to acquire a CPL than it is to strap on an AR-15 and walk down the street with it over one’s shoulder.
So, when he produced his license, the pair of officers should have smiled and said, “have a nice day,” and let him go on his way to enjoy his meal. But the officers chose to write down all of his identifying information to give to the “gun board,” something Woody challenged their knowledge of.
Woody replied the gun board had been disbanded and there was no longer any such entity. He perceived the officers’ words to be threatening in nature and then fired back that they were racially profiling him, something Woody called, “Eating while Black.” The officers continued the perceived harassment by telling Woody he had an attitude, was using profanity, and was, therefore, acting in a disorderly manner.
It’s easy to conclude that the officers may have been trying to provoke Woody into reacting and thereby committing some crime. We see it all the time at TFTP. Officers will continue to apply verbal and physical pressure until a subject reacts, giving officers cause to use force, sometimes deadly force.
To his credit, Woody kept asking the officers if he was free to leave and enjoy his food. Once away from the officers, Woody began to express the frustration he felt in being what he called “harassed by cops” who knew the law but chose to infringe on his rights to engage in liberty. Officer Barnes refused to give his full name, and the other officer refused to do the same. They both appeared to know they would later be held accountable. We’re happy to oblige.
The two encounters serve many purposes. First, it’s fairly dangerous to do what the first two men did. It seems there are way too many trigger happy cops who’d like to get a commendation for killing two armed men brandishing their weapons on Michigan’s roadways.
Second, when dealing with police officers who are asking for your concealed carry license, it may be best to attempt to keep one’s voice at a minimum. Even though Woody was in the right, the longer the encounter continued the higher the volume his voice became. By his voice raising with each passing minute, it seems the tension in the room also increased. By all means, exercise your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If those rights include carrying a gun to protect yourself, by all means, do so responsibly.