Skip to comments.Witness: Troy Teen Arrested for Carrying Rifle 'Was in His Legal Right' (MI)
Posted on 04/24/2012 12:01:21 PM PDT by marktwain
Troy High senior Sean Michael Combs, 18, was arrested Friday in downtown Birmingham after he was found carrying a loaded M1 Garand rifle.
It was a warm Friday night in April, and Troy High School senior Sean Michael Combs was enthusiastic about the rifle he received a month earlier as a gift for his 18th birthday, so he decided to carry it with him when he headed to downtown Birmingham with a friend.
Combs' choice to carry the M1 Garand slung over his shoulder resulted in his arrest by Birmingham Police an experience his close friend Lia Grabowski calls "terrifying."
Grabowski spoke up on Combs' behalf Monday, saying her friend "was in his legal right" when he was arrested.
Grabowski, 17, also a senior at Troy High, said she was with Combs at the time of his arrest Friday and witnessed Combs' exchange with police.
We were just walking down to Birmingham," Grabowski said. "We werent doing anything. There were groups of kids walking around.
"Hes a huge supporter of open carry and the right to bear arms, and he thought he could legally carry. He wasnt going to use it on anyone. Obviously, he could have defended himself, but he wasnt looking for a fight.
Grabowski said she and Combs were approached by a few teenagers who asked if his rifle was real, though "nobody was afraid, and everyone was kind of curious."
Then, the pair was stopped by a police officer, who asked to see Combs' driver's license, Grabowski said. Combs declined, and moments later, two more officers arrived and arrested Combs as he reached to produce his identification, according to Grabowski.
"He was in his legal right," Grabowski said. "He refused to give him his ID, but not rudely."
Grabowski said she does not agree with the actions of the Birmingham Police officers, adding that the experience was "terrifying."
Combs is a four-year member of the Troy High School cross country team, serving as one of its captains this past season. He was also on the track team for three years and ran indoor track for two years.
"I can kind of understand the fact that hes an 18-year-old, and he doesnt really look 18, but he was completely within his legal right and they did not have a right to arrest him. ... They had what they asked for, and they arrested him anyway."
"We understand long gun open carry to be lawful" in the state of Michigan, said Phillip Hofmeister, president of Michigan Open Carry, Inc., though he added that the group does not advocate open carry of long guns. Also, according to the group's website, "under no legal obligation are you required to talk to a police officer or produce identification of any kind if you are not being detained."
Combs declined to comment Monday without his attorney present. He is scheduled to be arraigned May 2 on charges of disturbing the peace, brandishing a weapon and obstructing an investigation.
Birmingham Police could not be reached for comment Monday evening.
funny how the officer wanted to carry the rifle and not the ammo box... he needed to be in control.
i would have said, carry the ammo box... i’ll keep the arms in control.
The LAPD during the Vietnam years and soon after were largely vets and they were tough but sympathetic to servicemen.
In 1967 when I was trying to hitchhike back to the bus station to get to Camp Pendleton from L.A. very early one morning, an LAPD cop stopped to see who I was - I was in civvies. Once he found out that I was a Marine, he called a "highway cruiser" unit who picked me up and ran me all the way back to my barracks at about 120 mph the whole way! (about 100 miles) Nice guys.
We Vietnam vets didn't have too many friends back then so I really appreciated those cops.
thank you for your service to this country then and now.
“I thought the story said that he looked young. The police can just say they wanted to know his age...Probable cause can be a low standard”
That would be reasonable suspicion, I believe, not probable cause, which has a lower standard still. “He looked young” doesn’t rise to the level of reasonably suspecting his ability to bear arms, to me at least. If so, it’s more like you don’t have the right unless you prove otherwise. Which I’ll admit basically is the case, at least for things cops don’t like, for instance carrying guns. But it shouldn’t be.
Because, when you insert a clip (M1 Garands really use clips) into an M1 Garand, it closes the bolt and automatically chambers a round.
If a Garand is loaded, there IS a round in the chamber.
“Why would he have a round in the chamber?”
Who cares? Is it legal to have a round in the chamber? Must be, since they apparently haven’t charged him with carrying a fully loaded weapon. You might as well ask why the gun was loaded at all, or why he had a gun in the first place. That’s none of your business.
I am so bloody sick of this mindset of “Well, it was legal, but it was stupid.” Fine, so it’s stupid. So what? Tell the kid he’s stupid, then, don’t arrest him. How about we don’t arrest people for being stupid yet legal? How about we save arrests for when people are actually breaking the law? I think that’s how the law is supposed to work.
“If thats true, he will likely lose in court.”
If there’s a law against fully loaded open carry, okay. But if not, and you’re only arguing that somehow it was legal but stupid and inflammatory and therefore suddenly illegal, I cry foul. Because then the court would be allowing the round in the chamber to prejudice them. It’s post facto rationalizing.
I clicked on your link and after reading the thoughts of the grand high police poohbah, I have absolutely no doubt the kid did nothing wrong and they only arrested him because the cops thought something that’s perfectly illegal ought to be illegal. The article says, “Studt noted the rifle was fully loaded with a bullet in the chamber. He couldn’t imagine anyone walking nearby and feeling comfortable.” Now, I don’t know if this is the usual illeteracy of reporters, or if those two sentences are supposed to logically run together. But if it’s the latter, that makes1 no sense. How would passersby know it’s loaded? How would anybody, without checking? Whether or not it’s loaded is irrelevant, and only reported in the interest of post facto rationalization.
“Police held the rifle in order to determine proof of ownership.” That’s a nonstarter. They couldn’t have possibly had reasonable suspicion that it wasn’t his gun. Cops aren’t allowed to go around assuming the things people carry aren’t their property. Also, the kid’s i.d. wouldn’t have anything to do with ownership.
’He was trying to make a scene and he did,’” Ah, now we get to the nub of the issue. I’m sure it did make a scene, of sorts. It’s not every day you see someone walking around with a rifle. The cops want to pretend like this scene endangered the peace, or something. But it was perfectly legal, and from all reports there was nothing for the police to bother themselves about. Nobody did anything illegal before the cops butt, thereby laying the ground for the magical charges of “disturbing the peace” and “ obstruction of justice.”
We all know that a cop can drum up any charge he wants, whether or not it applies. Let the courts sort it out, is their logic and the explicit comment of the police chief. When he says the kid wanted to make a scene and did, he’s basically admitting that the cops are going to make open carrying a crime even though it isn’t. If it’s not illegal, something else is, and they’ll charge you with that. That is, unless you go along with everything they say. Then you’re a good little citizen again, and can go on your way.
Always remember, you don’t have to go along with illegal orders. If the cops have no probable cause or reasonable suspicion, tell them. If they arrest you for hurting their feelings and rely on the courts to finish their dirty work for them, so be it. Maybe at some point the courts won’t take the cops’ word for it, and “disturbing the peace,” “obstructing justice,” etc. will be laughed at, when not backed by outside corroboration.
“The police can always come up with a reason to have asked him for his ID, that no one will be able to question.”
Yes, and that’s what’s made a mockery of the 4th amendment, and cops for that matter.
“They could even say they just wanted to see if the boy was safely carrying the rifle.”
That wouldn’t justify asking for his i.d., nor stopping him at all, really.
“Because, when you insert a clip (M1 Garands really use clips) into an M1 Garand, it closes the bolt and automatically chambers a round.
If a Garand is loaded, there IS a round in the chamber.”
That may be, but what possible difference does it make? No one’s saying having a round in the chamber is illegal, right? What business is it of ours why he was fully loaded, partially loaded, or whatever?
“something thats perfectly illegal ought to be illegal.”
Something that’s legal ought to be illegal, I mean.
Yes, the constitution trumps all state and local laws and ordinances.
Thank you for your posts. They were very well thought out.
How to have an empty chamber with cartridges in the magazine.
(This cannot be done with a full clip)
1. Point the gun in a safe direction.
2. Pull the operating rod handle to the rear to remove the cartridge from the chamber and hold the handle to the rear.
3. Depress the top cartridge and slowly allow the bolt to move forward over the top of the cartridge about an inch.
4. Remove your thumb from the cartridge.
5. Allow the bolt to move forward into the empty chamber.
“According to police reports, officers on foot patrol saw Combs with the rifle walking near South Old Woodward and Merrill at around 10:20 p.m.
Officers stopped the man and asked for identification so they could verify if he was old enough to be in possession of the rifle. Birmingham Police Cmdr. Terry Kiernan said adults are allowed to carry firearms in Michigan, though Combs appeared “very young,” Kiernan said.
However, police said Combs refused to identify himself, and he was taken into custody for disorderly conduct, brandishing a firearm and obstructing an officer.”
Made up or not, that story will work and the kid will lose, imo.
Thank you! Never heard of that before.
Sounds like a lot of trouble (an a probable bruised thumb). Personally, I’d leave it loaded, and put the safety on.