Open Carry Advocates Convicted of Felony for Improper Storage of a Firearm

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Two armed men who walked into a Michigan police station last February wearing face masks and body armor have been convicted, not for their actions in the police station, but for improperly storing a firearm immediately before their arrest.

Brandon Vreeland, 41, and James C. Baker, 24, entered Michigan’s Dearborn Police Department ostensibly to file a complaint regarding a traffic stop that had taken place only hours before.

Both men identify as open carry advocates, so, in an apparent attempt to test the limits of that right, Baker entered the police station carrying an AK-47 and a sidearm, and Vreeland carried a camera to film the encounter. Both men were also wearing body armor and face masks.

Police responded as one might expect.

Officers yelled at Baker and Vreeland to get on the ground and drop their weapons. The men began to protest but soon complied, though they continued to yell back and forth at the police officers.

Both men were arrested. Vreeland was charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, and was found guilty of both charges on July 7, according to local news outlets. Baker was charged with brandishing a firearm and disturbing the peace, but was found not guilty of both charges. It is legal to openly carry a weapon into a Michigan police station, and the jury determined that Baker’s actions did not warrant a disturbing the peace conviction.

Resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and brandishing a firearm are all misdemeanors, none of which carry more than a two-year prison sentence. But the improper storage charge could land both men in prison for much longer.

Based on a video the men took prior to entering the police station, the jury determined that Baker improperly stored a rifle in the trunk of Vreeland’s vehicle. The rifle was unloaded and the trunk was locked, but the rifle was not stored in a case, which is illegal without a concealed carry permit under Michigan law.

Baker had possessed a permit, but it had been revoked following a separate disturbing the peace charge during an open carry march in 2015. Since the charges were dismissed, however, Baker’s attorney argued that his client’s permit should have been immediately reinstated, which would have nullified the charge from the February incident.

Baker’s lawyer told local media that his client was convicted on the “silliest of technicalities” and that he’s “very confident” both Baker’s and Vreeland’s convictions will be reversed upon appeal.

Though both men identify as open carry advocates, their actions were not praised by Michigan’s open carry community.

“There is a clear difference between the everyday protection we advocate for and the attention seeking actions of these individuals,” Michigan Open Carry said in a statement following the confrontation. “Wearing a mask, dark glasses, visible body armor, and a rifle slung across your chest instills a very specific image that cannot be ignored.”

Though the original video of the incident in the police station and the video of the traffic stop have been removed from YouTube, they can still be found posted by other users.

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Robert Kirkpatrick July 16, 2017, 11:59 am

    Thanks for making our cause that much harder. We have to be more professional in abiding by the current laws while we seek a world that actually understands the language “shall not be infringed”. Thanks again guys, thanks again.

  • BRASS July 15, 2017, 4:10 pm

    Moral of this story? Two actually.

    1. Don’t be stupid in provoking police.
    2. If you’re going to provoke police unnecessarily, make sure you have your i’s dotted and your T’s crossed. IOW, see #1. Don’t be stupid.

  • Mr. Sparkles July 15, 2017, 12:44 pm

    walking into a police station wearing a mask, dark glasses and body armor and carrying a long gun (or any gun)? Did someone drop him on his head as a child?

  • Doug July 15, 2017, 9:27 am

    I’m thinking these cops knew these two fools from many prior encounters. That’s got to be the only reason they weren’t immediately neutralized. Good thing the cop he just told ” go fuck yourself” was still out on patrol. If he had been at the station, my gut tells me he would have seized this opportunity to rid the world of that asshole.

    For 99% of us, these guys represent the absolute wrong way to get public opinion on our side. And if you think, ” I don’t need public opinion, I’ve got the constitution, well, son, you’re just naive.

  • scott467 July 15, 2017, 1:58 am

    “Based on a video the men took prior to entering the police station, the jury determined that Baker improperly stored a rifle in the trunk of Vreeland’s vehicle. The rifle was unloaded and the trunk was locked, but the rifle was not stored in a case, which is illegal without a concealed carry permit under Michigan law.”

    _________________

    How are you supposed to get a new firearm home from your FFL, if it does not come in a ‘case’, but in a cardboard box, as many rifles do?

    Are you supposed to bring a case with you?

    Do the police store their rifles and shotguns (in their vehicles) according to the same requirements of this law?

    .

  • Dennis July 14, 2017, 9:06 pm

    I have a permit and carry wherever it is legal. That being said, if you looked up stupid in the dictionary these two idiot’s picture would be there as an example. They are lucky that they are not nominees for this years Darwin Award.

  • Scott Hateslibs July 14, 2017, 1:57 pm

    Oh, the stupidity makes my head hurt. Let’s see how far we can tiptoe up to the line without getting into trouble. What’s that, the line’s actually BEHIND us now??? Mommy must’ve dropped these nitwits on their heads when they were born.

  • Tony P. July 14, 2017, 1:03 pm

    These guys give a bad name to us law abiding citizens who carry legally and peacefully. Their actions are not only foolish and dangerous, no matter what the law says, what kind of an asshole walks into a police station wearing mask, body armor, AND guns? just to test the limits of the law? This is irrational, stupid, and reckless, and I hope they get nailed by the charge of improper firearms storage. We don’t need goons like these in the current times of so much anti-gun sentiment. Actually, they should be given full mental health evaluations and fail them, that should take care of them owning any guns in the future.

  • Keith July 14, 2017, 12:32 pm

    They’re lucky they were in Michigan. They wouldn’t have been around for any trial in GA.

  • Don Dineen July 14, 2017, 12:00 pm

    Time, place and circumstance can equal a crime. Some places make packing a gun in the open, even when normally legal, illegal. Hanging out in an alley at night, wearing a mask and packing a shotgun is enough to “raise concern” and become a crime. Normal people don’t do that.

  • Chris Jones July 14, 2017, 11:49 am

    What I got from this is that this particular Michigan Police Station has very well trained officers. There are lots of Stations where these idiots would’ve been shot dead.

  • tyler kent July 14, 2017, 11:37 am

    Many open carry advocates are giving decent gun owners a bad name by their nutty antics. I wish the open carry folks in open carry states would just leave things alone.

  • RGE July 14, 2017, 11:22 am

    A. Don’t walk into a police station fully armed.
    B. Do not walk into a police station fully armed wearing face masks.
    C. Do not go around f*cking with the police.
    D. If you want to file a complaint against a police officer, do it “nice” and say it politely. A rude bust-in like this, well you’re just itchin for a fight.
    Stupid is what stupid does.

  • SuperG July 14, 2017, 11:18 am

    Stupid is as stupid does – Forrest Gump

  • Greg July 14, 2017, 10:55 am

    They were looking for trouble and found it. They should consider themselves very lucky to be alive to be convicted of something.
    This same mentality can be seen in BLM confrontations. It is not very bright to keep taking Police Officers right to the edge of discharging their weapon, sooner or later somebody will get killed playing that game.
    Police Officers are not the enemy they just enforce the laws congress and the President sign into law. They need to take their gun issues to Washington not the Police Department which is attempted suicide as far as I’m concerned.
    Ignorant dumb-asses.

  • Sandy Reed July 14, 2017, 10:50 am

    Somewhere there is a village without an idiot! These guys should send in a resume. Non-intelects pushing the limit of open carry only put fuel on the fire of the Anti-gunners. Man up fellas.

  • ThatGuy July 14, 2017, 10:48 am

    Police station or not….
    As a concealed carrying citizen, if I see two masked men carrying Ak’s towards a police station (or any other public building for that matter), I am going to be the one drawing down on them (of course using verbal commands at the same time). How stupid are they? Try that in my little town and the open carry tards may really need the vests – I’m sure I’m not the only one that would be covering them with a firearm!

  • Larry July 14, 2017, 10:45 am

    I remember when this first happened. I thought then that they both were very lucky that every cop in the station house didn’t use them for target practice. I know if someone armed with an AK47 & wearing a mask is coming towards me, my gun is out & I am sending rounds his direction BEFORE he can start shooting at me with the superior fire power rifle.

  • pete July 14, 2017, 10:23 am

    Open carry idiots. Ooo look at me I’m so cool I have a gun!

  • AZGUY July 14, 2017, 10:02 am

    I am pleased the majority’s comments peg these guys for the fools they are. They are examples the anti-2nd crowd can use in the propaganda war against our right to bear arms. As I said, these two are fools. They did us no favors with their actions.

  • Tim Smith July 14, 2017, 9:29 am

    What a couple of dumb asses!

  • Infidel762x51 July 14, 2017, 7:57 am

    While I personally don’t care for open carry (I prefer the scumbag doesn’t know he picked the wrong target until he is lying in a pool of his own blood) these two are idiots. If you go around looking like an isis wanna-be you better be expected to be treated like an isis dirtbag. This is not a good way to present your case or gain sympathy with the public at large. The face masks were an especially stupid thing to wear. The stunt itself does nothing but show just how stupid some people can be and can only make it harder for legitimate gun owners.

  • Dr Motown July 14, 2017, 7:30 am

    These two ‘tards certainly don’t represent my shooting community or 2A interests

  • shrugger July 14, 2017, 7:22 am

    Are they intentionally or accidentally retarded?

  • Nick July 14, 2017, 7:07 am

    If they had been killed by cops, I’d call the result “thinning the herd.”

  • Dennis July 14, 2017, 6:17 am

    A bit on the extreme but they serve a purpose.

    • Infidel762x51 July 14, 2017, 7:59 am

      They help the cause of groups like stupid moms demand more than they do 2A supporters.

  • roger July 14, 2017, 5:09 am

    They deserve to be arrested. Idiots.

  • bill July 14, 2017, 5:05 am

    Walking into a police station armed with masks on is a great way to get immediately killed. These guys aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree, for sure.

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