A United States District Court in the state of Michigan said yes earlier this month, ruling that police are entirely within their rights to question open carriers.
Johann Deffert of Grand Rapids filed the lawsuit after police confronted him at gunpoint while he was legally open carrying a holstered FNP-45 pistol.
According to a video of the incident captured on a police dash cam, an officer forced Deffert to lie on the asphalt at gunpoint until backup arrived.
The officer said he thought Deffert seemed to be “mentally ill” because he was talking to himself. (It was later determined that Deffert was in fact singing a song from the Disney movie The Lion King.)
Deffert was released after fifteen minutes, once officers determined no laws had been broken. He filed a federal lawsuit several months later.
Deffert’s lawsuit challenged whether law enforcement had the authority to detain him. He argued that his constitutional rights had been violated because he did not break any laws.
In ruling in favor of law enforcement, the judge said they used “swift action to determine whether [Deffert’s] behavior gave rise to a need to protect or preserve life…in the neighborhood.”
Deffert’s lawyers said he intends to file an appeal.