Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham was arrested when he was on a Boy Scout hike based upon the charge that he was “rudely displaying” a firearm. Grisham and his son were hiking in a Texas wilderness area know to harbor wild boars and cougars, so Grisham was carrying an AR-15 rifle and a .45 caliber pistol. The video Grisham’s son shot of the arrest shows the officer assuming that Grisham has the weapon illegally, that a citizen’s gun ownership is inherently dangerous, and that, while a police officer is “allowed” to carry a weapon, that right does not extend to either a soldier or a citizen.
According to an interview Grisham gave to National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke, when Cooke asked why Grisham thought the officer behaved that way, Grisham said he was perplexed:
I don’t know. It’s not the law. You can’t go around taking guns without probable cause or a reasonable suspicion that someone is about to commit a crime. A lot of what the officers said is illegal, against Texas law, against national precedent, against Supreme Court decisions. I was legally exercising a right, especially in Texas where we have a right to carry weapons openly, and I have a concealed-carry permit. I wasn’t looking to make an issue out of it. I go up to Austin for Second Amendment rallies with my AR [rifle] all the time. But here in the country? Ultimately, it happened because I stood up to a police officer. I support the police. I’m on the public safety committee. But I also know that when I’m stopped by a police officer, I don’t have to say anything unless I’m accused of committing a crime. I’m not being a prick. I don’t think it was the gun initially, I think it was that my reaction hurt his ego.
Worse, said Grisham, off-duty troops tend to be subject to a lot of harassment in the Bell County, Texas, area:
This has happened several times in this area. To Staff Sergeant Nate Samson, for example. He had to fight these guys for ten months. The charges were dropped, but he has no justice. He doesn’t have a lot of money to fight them. I have a pretrial hearing on May 29. The police are dragging their feet, not releasing the video. They’re waiting as long as they can — playing hard to get. . . . The reason I’m aggressive on this is that, in the military, if this happens, they initiate a flag that halts your career. You can’t take leave, you can’t be promoted, can’t receive awards or decorations. I am supposed to move to new base in July. I can’t do that. I’ve been on active duty for 18 and a half years and it’s got my career on a hold.
TheBlaze has reported that the Temple Police Department, which arrested Grisham, is refusing to comment on what happened. TheBlaze also interviewed Justin Flint, an attorney who specializes in Texas gun law. Flint agreed that, looking at the video, it did not appear that Grisham had resisted the officer in any way. Texas allows concealed carry provided that the carrier shows the officer the weapon, identifies himself, and proves his right to concealed carry. Additionally, Texas places no legal limitations on “carrying a long arm, a rifle, or a shotgun. . . .” Texas police, however, may disarm a person while they are questioning him, in order to ensure their own safety, provided that, unless they determine that the person carrying the weapon committed a crime, they return the weapon.
The attorney concluded that, based solely upon the information Grisham made available, it did not look as if there was a valid case against Grisham:
Grisham was first charged with resisting arrest, however, the charge was downgraded to interfering with a peace officer while performing a duty. Flint said if he were defending Grisham, theoretically, he would likely push for a case dismissal, based on the facts that are known at this point. He again insisted, though, that more facts may surface that could change the case dramatically.
“Based on the facts themselves, if there’s not evidence that he was resisting in any way or trying to interfere with what they are doing, then this would be a case that would be suitable for getting dismissed,” he added. “Whether based on lack of probable cause or lack of evidence to detain or arrest him.”
Taken in isolation, this could just be a bad luck story – with a single soldier having run afoul of an ill-informed or bad tempered police officer. What’s dismaying about Grisham’s story is the fact that there seems to be a concerted government attack against military personnel and veterans who carry guns.
Read more here about Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s claim that all veterans are dangerously mentally ill and cannot be armed; the Veterans Administrations’ letters to veterans threatening their weapons; and the recent revelation that the Veterans Administration is actively engaged in seizing veterans’ weapons.