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Man accused of carrying AR-15 style rifle in downtown Holland during Tulip Time, brandishing gun at bar

The 57-year-old Holland Twp. man is also facing a trespassing charge after allegedly brandishing a weapon inside a busy Holland bar.

HOLLAND, Michigan — A Holland Township man is accused of carrying a loaded AR-15 style rifle in downtown Holland during the busy Tulip Time festival as well as brandishing a gun inside a crowded bar room. 

On May 8, the Holland Department of Public Safety learned that a man was walking around with a rifle downtown during the busy festival. 

Authorities said the suspect, later identified as 57-year-old Steven Bruso, did not threaten anyone and did not fire any shots, though he's charged with one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm in public. 

Michigan's open carry law allows people to carry a firearm in most places, but you're not allowed to brandish a firearm.

"Brandishing a firearm basically means having a gun in your possession and using it in a manner that's threatening to someone else. So you're pointing it at someone, you're waving it around or using displaying it in a matter that people would find threatening," Sarissa Montague Criminal Defense Attorney said.

He's also charged with misdemeanor trespassing at the Itty Bitty Bar on Ottawa Beach Road. Police allege he produced or brandished a firearm inside a crowded bar room.

Court documents reveal Bruso signed a voluntary order which requires hospitalization and mental health treatment.

During the hearing, Judge Bradley Knoll was concerned about 70 weapons in Bruso's home, with many unaccounted for. 

Brusso cooperated with law enforcement in handing over most of the weapons, but law enforcement is continuing to secure more weapons locked in safes.  

That's part of the reason why the judge set his bond at $250,000 despite Russo not having a prior criminal history. 

The judge also ordered him not to possess, use or buy any more firearms. 

Judge Bradley Knoll said he didn't know 57-year-old Steven Bruso's intentions and was concerned because there was a high amount of people in downtown Holland at the time of the ordeal. 

"I can't imagine any legitimate or innocent purpose in doing that. And I can't imagine a scenario where there is a greater risk to public safety than that posed by the actions of Mr. Bruso," Knoll said. 

The judge acknowledged second amendment rights but also noted they aren't absolute just as first amendment rights aren't absolute. 

A public defender entered a not-guilty plea on Bruso's behalf.

Bruso is due back in court on June 1. 

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