GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of gun enthusiasts took to Grand Rapids streets Sunday openly carrying guns.
“We are law-abiding people that are just looking out for ourselves,” march organizer Tom Lambert said.
The march to support open carry in Grand Rapids followed Johann Deffert’s lawsuit against the city and the Grand Rapids Police Department.
Deffert alleges his right to openly carry a gun was violated when he was ordered to the ground at gunpoint and his weapon was taken on March 3, 2013. In the federal lawsuit, he claims that he was walking along a public sidewalk near a church openly carrying a handgun in a holster at his hip when officers confronted and then detained him for about 10 minutes before he was released.
“We believe very strongly that he was detained unlawfully. We want to march and protest and say that was wrong,” Lambert said.
Lambert is a gun rights activist who has also been attending the Grand Rapids City Commission meetings while carrying openly — something Mayor George Heartwell disapproves of.
“Hopefully we clear up confusion on all levels. Hopefully we make sure that GRPD makes sure and understands what is OK and what is not OK ,” Lambert said.
The march started at Fuller Park and ended on Lakeside Drive, near where Deffert was detained.
Deffert’s lawsuit says the incident constituted a violation of his First, Second, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The suit also claims the city failed to properly train the officers on Michigan gun laws.
Deffert is suing for a $100,000 judgment and another $500,000 for punitive damages, as well as attorney fees.
Dashcam video of Deffert’s detainment via YouTube: