Fine, not jail for Texas soldier in gun rights case

Associated Press

BELTON — A Fort Hood soldier was fined after being convicted of a misdemeanor in a case where gun-rights advocates protested his arrest.

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Christopher Grisham did not get jail time after being convicted Tuesday by a Belton jury of interference with the duties of an officer, the Temple Daily Telegram reported. The jury gave him a $2,000 fine. Grisham has said he’ll appeal both the fine and the conviction.

Grisham was arrested in March while hiking with his 15-year-old son for a Boy Scouts merit badge and armed with an assault rifle he carried openly, which he’s allowed to do under state law.

Someone who spotted the rifle called police, and a resulting confrontation between the officer and Grisham led to the soldier’s arrest. The confrontation was captured on video and posted on the Internet. His first trial ended last month with a deadlocked jury.

Blue Rannefeld, an attorney for the National Association of Legal Gun Defense, represented Grisham, who has said he fought the arrest and resulting charge to take a stand for gun rights.

The prosecution called a local Boy Scouts leader who testified that Grisham’s hike violated BSA policy requiring at least two adults for any youth activity. A district attorney’s investigator also testified that Grisham raised nearly $52,000 in donations by posting video of the arrest taken by his son.

Prosecutor John Gauntt Jr. told jurors that “we are all accountable for our actions,” arguing that the case wasn’t on gun rights.