Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Michigan demonstrates how matters ought to be handled by law enforcement

The Michigan State Police Training and Standards Division has issued a concise and helpful memo for the benefit of local law-enforcement agencies.  It confirms that the open carry of a firearm by law-abiding residents who are not otherwise prohibited from doing so is indeed not a criminal offense.  The document also spells out exactly when police officers are authorized to make contact with those citizens:

"In Michigan, it is legal for a person to carry a firearm in public as long as the person is carrying the firearm with lawful intent and the firearm is not concealed. You will not find a law that states it is legal to openly carry a firearm. It is legal because there is no Michigan law that prohibits it;"


"Officers are reminded that the Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Carrying a non-concealed firearm is generally legal. Officers may engage in a consensual encounter with a person carrying a non-concealed pistol; however, in order to stop a citizen, officers are required to have reasonable suspicion that crime is afoot. For example, officers may not stop a person on the mere possibility the person may be carrying an unregistered pistol. Officers must possess facts rising to the level of reasonable suspicion to believe the person is carrying an unregistered pistol.

Officers are also reminded there is no general duty for a citizen to identify himself or herself to a police officer unless the citizen is being stopped for a Michigan Vehicle Code violation."

Congratulations to that professional, service-oriented agency for being so proactive about distributing this information in an effort to prevent any tragic misunderstandings that could result in innocent people,well-meaning cops or both from getting injured or worse.

(h/t to John Pierce at opencarry.org for the info)

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