According to numerous reports, a member of the Michigan County Commissioners’ Commission, Grand Travers, fired a rifle during a live public hearing on Wednesday after a local asked the group to convict the Proud Boys.
During the virtual meeting, East Bay resident Kelly Mackintosh asked the council of commissioners to make a “public declaration” condemning the far-right Proud Boys group, which spoke to the board last year, as it considered a proposal for the rights of weapon.
“I mean, you can say we don’t [a] a problem with the proud boys around our area, but obviously there is a problem with the proud boys around the country who are causing problems, “Mackintosh said when Commission President Ron Kluss came out of the screen, as seen in a video published by The Washington Post.
MacIntosh went on to explain that while she is not a gun owner, she “can definitely appreciate people who want to protect their gun rights.”
As she speaks, Close is shown stepping back into the frame, holding a rifle.
MacIntosh goes on to say that groups like the Proud Boys have been given permission “to do more with their weapons than to go hunting.”
MacIntosh told the Post that Clous’ actions scared her.
“He needs to take care of the best interests of the community,” she said. “What’s the message he’s trying to convey? That if someone speaks against us, we’ll just threaten him with a gun?”
Close defended his actions against Traverse City Record-Eagle.
“I was just going to show the rifle and show that I fully support the Second Amendment, but then I chose not to,” he said.
He went on to explain his interaction with the far-right group at the March meeting.
“The only thing I know about them is when they came and talked to us. They were probably the most respected people who got up and talked,” he said. “They were decent boys and treated us with respect.”
Commission chairman Rob Hentschel, who can be seen laughing while Close holds the rifle, told Record-Eagle he saw no harm in Close’s actions.
“I saw him through his chest and I thought it was ironic for him to do that,” Henchel said. “The man was talking about guns and he had one over his chest. I didn’t see him doing anything illegal or dangerous to him. He wasn’t threatening or waving. He was just holding it.”
Board member Betsy Coffia shared his disapproval of the incident in a statement to The Hill, saying it gave a bad name to responsible gun owners.
“It is unacceptable for an elected official to respond to a voter exercising his or her right to the First Amendment by brandishing a weapon at a public meeting,” she said.
She went on to criticize Henchel’s reaction, saying: “It is unacceptable for the president not only to giggle approvingly, but also to defend the action.”
Kofia said the most worrying part of the incident was the fact that “both men are defending the Proud Boys, even though the FBI has found them to be an extremist group linked to white nationalism.”
Hentschel, Clous and the other board members did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
The incident comes after the deadly January 6 riots in the US Capitol involving far-right groups of activists.