The fate of a Fort Hood soldier who was arrested in March while openly carrying an AR-15 rifle down a road in Central Texas is now in the hands of a jury. The trial of Christopher Grisham has drawn the ardent interest of gun-rights advocates nationwide.
Grisham, an active-duty Army Master Sergeant, was accompanying his 15-year-old son on a 10-mile hike back in March. The hike was part of the younger Grisham’s Boy Scout activities.
Grisham and Christopher Grisham Jr. were walking along Airport Road in West Temple, Texas, when they were approached by police officer Steve Ermis.
The police had received a call from someone alarmed by the sight of a man walking in public carrying a military-style assault weapon.
When Ermis confronted the elder Grisham, the soldier protested. Shortly, the teenage Grisham whipped out is cell phone and recorded the incident. That video can be seen in its entirety below.
At trial, which concluded this morning, Oct. 17, Ermis testified that he did not know why Grisham was carrying the high-powered weapon and that aspects of Grisham’s behavior were troubling to him.
Grisham faces a misdemeanor charge of interfering with the duties of a police officer. According to court records cited in the press, the soldier resisted when the cop tried to get him to put his hands behind his back. He also refused to hand over his rifle.
It is not illegal to carry a rifle in Texas.
Gun rights advocates have taken up Grisham’s cause. Blue Rannefeld, lawyer for the National Association of Legal Gun Defense, gave the defense’s opening statement and blasted Ermis for going “above and beyond to control and intimidate” Grisham.
When the younger Grisham testified on his father’s behalf, he said the rifle was for fending off feral hogs that had been spotted in the area.
He also said that Ermis drew his own gun and aimed it at the back of the senior Grisham’s head when the solider refused to surrender his rifle.
Sources: Dallas News, KWTX TV, KXXV TV, Temple Daily Telegram, YouTube