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A man who was ticketed for wearing an openly displayed pistol outside an Albertsons shopping center on Friday was packing a total of 35 bullets — including those loaded in the holstered .45-caliber gun and in two ammunition clips.

But Kurk Robert Kirby, 26, made no menacing statements or gestures to anyone at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., police say. He simply stood around near stores for 10 to 15 minutes before someone called 911, according to a Vancouver Police Department report.

On Monday, Kevin McClure, supervising prosecutor with the City Attorney’s Office, said he was reviewing the police reports and had not yet decided what to do in the case.

The ticket alleges that Kirby committed the crime of unlawful carrying of a weapon, a gross misdemeanor that carries, if a person is convicted, a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, McClure said.

But Kirby’s attorney, Christopher Dumm of Vancouver, said the officer who issued the ticket made an error.

“We’re confident Mr. Kirby didn’t break any law,” he said. “Washington is an open-carry state.”

He added: “The police deserve my respect and they have it, but nobody is perfect and mistakes are made.”

As for Kirby himself, he declined to comment when contacted by The Columbian on Monday, on Dumm’s advice.

Meanwhile, the case has generated many comments on the Internet and is being monitored by groups and blogs in the open-carry movement.

Activists with the movement have been making visibly armed appearances such as Kirby’s in several states, to make the point that they believe the practice is legal and constitutionally protected.

Such comments can be read on Open Carry.org, which calls itself “a pro-gun Internet community focused on the right to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily American life.”

Activists on the site discuss an upcoming open-carry event that would occur in Vancouver, possibly at Esther Short Park or Leverich Park.

One such comment, using the abbreviation OC for open carry, was posted Sunday on OpenCarry.org.

“Is there any chance for VPD to show up to make arrests at this or other events? I OC sometimes, by myself.”

Source: By John Branton for The Columbian.

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