Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued an interesting opinion in a Michigan gun case. The opinion implicates several areas of criminal law, including the state’s open-carry law and constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was checking his oil at a gas station. As the defendant leaned over the hood of his car, officers passed by on routine patrol. As the officers glanced towards the defendant, they saw what they knew to be a handgun sticking out of the waistband of the defendant’s pants. The officers asked the defendant if he had a concealed pistol license. The defendant responded that he did not, at which point the police arrested him.
The defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that under the Michigan open carry law, the fact that officers saw him carrying a gun in public was not probable cause to believe he had committed a criminal offense. The Michigan open carry law allows gun owners to carry a pistol on their person, provided it is for a lawful purpose and not concealed.