Case Summary

24-year-old Elijah Woody was a member of an open carry activist group called Hell’s Saints when, in September of 2014, he was arrested in Detroit for allegedly illegally carrying a concealed weapon. The alleged violation was in the form of a handgun tucked into his waistband on a chilly winter day with his puffy coat supposedly flopped down over it.

Hell’s Saints is an activist group in Michigan whose mission is to inform the public of their right to keep and bear arms. They regularly stroll through cities openly carrying firearms in accordance with the law to spark educational conversation about the right to keep and bear arms.

At the time of the arrest, Woody was carrying a firearm, but not as a part of a Hell’s Saints event. None of the reports about the incident indicates or alleges that he harmed or threatened anyone in any way. Rather, this was an entirely nonviolent and nonthreatening exercise of rights supposedly guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

For his entirely peaceful behavior, officers chose to make an arrest and put him at risk of five years in jail literally over a matter of fashion policing. Had Woody been convicted, he also potentially could have lost legal recognition of his Second Amendment-protected rights that he obviously values.

Despite officers’ confidence that they had an open-and-shut case against Woody, jurors in his 2015 trial disagreed. They found him Not Guilty.

FIJA Documents

Jury Finds Open Carry Advocate Not Guilty

Other Resources

Detroit Gun Arrest Prompts Unusual Meeting between Chief James Craig, Open-Carry Advocate
Gun-Rights Advocates March in Detroit to Protest Arrest
Mixed-Race Open Carry Group Strolls Through Detroit. Guess Who Gets Arrested?