A group of open carry advocates plan to make their sentiments known about the during a protest at the June 11 Birmingham City Commission meeting.
after he was discovered carry a M1 Garande rifle on South Old Woodward Avenue. The rifle — — was loaded with one round in the chamber.
Though 18 and legally able to carry the rifle, police say Combs refused to show identification when asked and was arrested for brandishing a firearm, disorderly conduct and obstructing an officer.
At the time, police say Combs looked "young" and they weren't sure he was old enough to carry the weapon.
However, advocates of Michigan's open carry laws are up in arms over the arrest. In a plan that informally blossomed on the online forum OpenCarry.org, local open carry advocates plan to protest the arrest, noting it's not just about the Second Amendment — it's about Combs' civil rights.
"He wasn't committing a crime," said Jeff Kroll, an Eastpointe resident who helped organize the protest on OpenCarry.org. "No matter how you feel on the gun issue, it's frightening that the police would do that."
"(Combs) didn't do anything illegal," Kroll added. "The police arrested him because they didn't approve ... People get caught up on the rifle issue, but they're not seeing the forest for the trees. If they can arrest you for one activity, they can arrest you for anything."
Chief Don Studt said whether or not the case moves forward at this point is up to the courts. Combs was arraigned in and . However, Studt said he still stands by his officers.
"I understand the open carry law completely," he said. "But I still stand by the officers. Absolutely they were right."
However, according to Combs' attorney Jim Makowski, their team will be filing a motion soon to dismiss the case based on the constitutionality of the police stop.
"This is not necessarily a Second Amendment issue," Makowski said Wednesday. "This is a freedom of expression issue (and) the law is on our side, I feel."
The group organizing the protest has contacted Makowski and Combs' family about the event, and Makowski said he plans on attending though they're not endorsing the protest. Makowski said Combs, a senior at Troy High School whom he described as a "solid young man" who's a little uncomfortable with the publicity, probably won't be there.
Kroll stressed that the protest will be in favor of all open carry laws. He noted that openly carrying long guns — such as Combs' rifle — can be controversial and most open carry advocates stick to smaller weapons that can be concealed.
Still, Kroll said that under Michigan law, a rifle was the only kind of gun Combs was able to legally carry because of his age. According to Philip Hofmeister, president of Michigan Open Carry Inc., Combs was in his right though the group does not advocate openly carrying long guns.
The protest is scheduled to begin around 4:30 p.m. June 11 at in Birmingham, where the group — Kroll said he expects around a dozen people from southeast Michigan to attend — plans to order pizza and hang out.
At 7:15 p.m., they plan to walk over to together to attend that night's City Commission meeting. Kroll said members of the group plan to speak during the public comment period of the meeting. Protest members are welcome to carry a weapon, Kroll said.
Chief Studt said although no one has contacted him about the planned protest, he doesn't have a problem with the group or its plans.
"I don't anticipate any confrontations," he said. "We're not looking for any problems and I'm sure they're not looking for any problems either."