Despite the triple-digit heat, a small group of open carry advocates gathered Friday evening at Birmingham's to support Sean Combs, the 18-year-old Troy resident who was arrested in April after he was found .
A similar group of open carry advocates also , later attending the Monday night meeting of the Birmingham City Commission.
Combs, who is following on June 20 at the , was present at Friday's gathering along with his mother, brothers and several other open carry advocates.
"I really appreciate it," Combs said. "It shows people support me."
after an . Combs was arrested around 10 p.m. after refusing to show police officers identification after they asked about the M1 Garande rifle strapped to his back, police reports state.
Ferndale resident Mike Stanley, who arrived at the park carrying a Springfield XD .45 in a holster on his hip, said he showed up to support open carry rights after seeing a post on opencarry.org.
"The goal is to educate people in their right to self defense and get rid of the taboo," Stanley said. "People have a built-in taboo when it comes to firearms, and that's the point of this."
"I feel everyone should be comfortable with open carry," Clawson resident Stephanie Locke said. "When you conceal, there's more of a threat because you don't know what they're carrying."
Locke said she believes the best way to have people become more accepting and comfortable with open carry is by educating them.
"The less you know about it, the more scared you are," she said. "The more understanding you have, the less you'll have to worry about."
Combs agreed, saying, "Whether people like it or not, it's educating people on the issue."
Combs is scheduled for a jury pre-trial for 1:30 p.m. July 9, with the jury trial set to begin at 8:30 a.m. July 11.