Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham is shown in this December 2009 photo. (Patricia Miklik Doyle)
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Army Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham, a conservative military blogger and vocal gun rights activist, was arrested March 16 in Temple, Texas, after a scuffle with a local police officer.
The incident unfolded after someone spotted Grisham carrying “an assault-style rifle” as he and his teenage son were walking along rural roads near the Temple airport west of town, said Temple Police Department spokesman Cpl. Chris Wilcox.
Wilcox said walking on a road with a rifle is not against the law, but “if you have an AR15 or an assault weapon of some type and someone calls that in, we're going to go and investigate it. I imagine any police department in the country is going to do that in light of all of the shootings that have taken place.”
An officer was dispatched to check things out. Wilcox said the officer approached Grisham and told him to set down the loaded rifle that was slung across his chest so the two could talk.
Instead, Grisham “became very irate and angry and yelled at the officer he was not going to take his gun,” Wilcox said.
A scuffle ensued, with the officer eventually drawing his service pistol and pinning Grisham against the patrol car until backup units arrived. A search also revealed that Grisham, a counterintelligence agent stationed at nearby Fort Hood, was carrying a concealed pistol, for which he had a permit.
Grisham was booked into the county jail for resisting arrest and released the same day on $2,500 cash bail. Formal charges are pending.
“I absolutely, in the strongest terms possible, reject and deny any wrongdoing or charges against me,” Grisham wrote in an email. He declined to comment further.
The arrest came the same weekend Grisham was quoted in Military Times defending gun rights for troops with post-traumatic stress. He has been open about his own diagnoses following tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A few days earlier, Grisham appeared before the Temple City Council urging members to pass a resolution protecting private gun ownership.
Grisham has launched an online fundraiser to help pay the legal costs associated with his arrest, which he has dubbed the “2nd Amendment Legal Defense Fund.”
“By helping me fight for my rights, you are helping to fight for the rights of all Americans!” Grisham writes on the Indiegogo fundraising site, where he hopes to raise $11,000.
“No one should have to fear being illegally disarmed without warrant, especially someone who has never committed a crime in his life. There is an overt attempt to disarm Americans, and especially veterans, in this country.”
So far, more than 80 supporters have contributed more than $6,000.
Wilcox said Grisham's arrest is not about gun rights.
“Temple, Texas, is a Second Amendment supporter,” he said. “I personally support people's right to keep and bear arms. … It's a simple officer safety thing. The safety of my officers is paramount. If an officer asks you to put down a weapon so he can speak to you, anyone should comply with that.”