Defendant was arrested at a gas station for carrying a concealed weapon without a concealed pistol license (CPL). The arrest was conducted by Police Officers, they saw defendant with a partially concealed handgun in his waistband from their vehicle while on patrol. Specifically, defendant was leaning over his vehicle checking his oil and a handgun was situated in the right side of defendant’s waistband with its handle sticking out of his coat. Subsequently, Officer asked defendant whether he had a CPL and defendant said that he did not. The officers then exited their vehicle, approached defendant, recovered the handgun from his waistband, and placed defendant in handcuffs.
Motion to Suppress Evidence
Defendant moved to suppress the evidence from his arrest, arguing that it was the product of an illegal search and seizure because the handgun was not concealed; rather, it was being carried consistent with Michigan’s open carry law. Therefore, the police officers’ investigatory stop was not justified by a reasonable suspicion that defendant was carrying a concealed handgun and all evidence seized from his arrest should be suppressed.
The prosecution opposed defendant’s motion, arguing that although the handgun’s handle may have been visible, the rest of the weapon was still hidden in waistband and thus concealed within the meaning of MCL 750.227.
MCL 750.227(2) prohibits a person from carrying a pistol concealed on or about his or her person. It has long been established that total concealment or invisibility is not required under the statute to support such a conviction. A weapon is concealed when it is not discernible by the ordinary observation of persons encountering the person carrying it, casually observing him, as people do in the ordinary and usual associations of life.
Considering the evidence of record, the court concluded that the police officers had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that defendant was illegally carrying a concealed handgun, and thus, were justified in conducting an investigatory stop which resulted in the discovery of the handgun, as well as other incriminating evidence.
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