Wicomico Sheriff, Md. Delegate Appear in 'Open Carry' Video - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico Sheriff, Md. Delegate Appear in 'Open Carry' Video

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Screen capture of the video shows Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, left, and Maryland Del. Mike Smigiel, R-District 36 (Midshore). Screen capture of the video shows Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, left, and Maryland Del. Mike Smigiel, R-District 36 (Midshore).

SALISBURY, Md.- Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis has teamed up with Maryland Del. Mike Smigiel, R-District 36 (Midshore), to produce a video that shows when and how state residents can legally "open carry" a long gun.

The video, which can be watched above, was posted March 3 on YouTube by a user named "James Madison," and has received more than 16,700 views so far. It shows Smigiel walking down the street with a .22 rifle on his shoulder. A sheriff's deputy, Cpl. Hal Phillips, stops Smigiel and orders him to "Put the gun on the ground!" Smigiel replies, "It's legal. I've got a right to open carry." But Phillips says, "You can't walk down the street with a firearm on your arm." But Smigiel replies that Attorney General Doug Gansler stated in federal court that Maryland does not need to have a concealed carry law because everyone has the right to open carry.

The video continues with the deputy contacting Sheriff Lewis, who drives up to the scene and tells Smigiel that despite what the attorney general said, people cannot walk down the street carrying a gun like a shotgun or a .22 over their shoulders as police will get calls from the public. Police will have no choice but to respond to the scene, Lewis says.The sheriff then returns the gun to Smigiel, noting that it is unloaded, and advises him to put it away.

The sheriff told WBOC on Friday that Smigiel asked him to take part in the video and he agreed because of his long standing strong beliefs in the 2nd amendment.  The sheriff said he was also under the impression that this video was being made as an educational and legislative piece for delegates in Annapolis.

"This was highly educational for them, this was another educational video clip we did not only for our citizens of Wicomico County, but for the citizens of the state of Maryland.  He wanted to know these things and I am glad I was able to participate in this," Sheriff Lewis said.

When asked about the appropriateness of county resources being used in the video, like county cruisers and an on-duty deputy, the sheriff said their use was justified.

"We use our resources everyday to educate the public.  We use our resources everyday to produce public service announcements.  That's my job as sheriff of Wicomico County."

However, some Wicomico County residents disagree with the use of country resources.

"It's ok for him to show his support like that but it shouldn't be using county resources.  It shouldn't be taking away a guy who's job is to be protecting the city at that time and taking him away to do some video to support something that maybe everybody in the county isn't supportive of," said Joshua Hale of Salisbury.

"I work for an eye doctors office and even if I wanted to endorse a particular brand of contact lenses, I couldn't do it while I was on the clock because I don't think that's what I am paid for.  I am not trying to be attacking, I just kind of question the motivation," said Alyssa Mullins of Salisbury.

But Sheriff Mike Lewis said he is sticking to his guns on his participation in the video.

"It's also my job as sheriff to educate the citizens on what the law is and I am proud to have taken part in that," said Lewis.

The video ends with a disclaimer: "Warning: Do not try this. If attempted near law enforcement who do not know you or the law, you may be arrested or shot. Delegate Smigiel knows the County Sheriff." In the next frame, viewers are advised: "Testify in Annapolis on March 4. Explain to the House of Delegates that allowing concealed carry is what everyone prefers. Call, email and visit your representatives throughout the legislative session and explain to them the benefits of concealed carry. Insist that self defense be considered a 'good and substantial' reason to be issued a carry permit."

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