Judge delays proceeding in gun possession case

Curtis Gathing, left, attends his plea hearing Thursday in 35th Circuit Court.

CORUNNA — A Flint man was set to plead guilty to possession of a firearm in 35th Circuit Court Thursday, but Judge Matthew Stewart instead adjourned proceedings so the man will retain his ability to own firearms.

Curtis Gathing, 32, was stopped by a Michigan State Police trooper along I-69 in February. He had an unloaded Glock .40 caliber pistol in his glove box.

Gathing had already taken classes to obtain a concealed pistol permit, but had not yet submitted the paperwork to the Genesee County Clerk. The ammunition for the pistol was stored separately in the trunk of Gathing’s vehicle. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

Stewart was set to accept a guilty plea to misdemeanor attempted possession of a firearm, but delayed the matter.

“Are we doing justice?” Stewart asked. “You have the paperwork? You went to the class? And you did your range time, you went to the Register of Deeds in Genesee County and got the actual card? You’re telling me that under oath? Then here’s what we’re going to do. I’m not going to find you guilty.”

Stewart asked Gathing to provide proof of obtaining a CPL from Genesee County, and adjourned further proceedings until January 2022.

Shiawassee County Public Defender Doug Corwin pointed out Gathing has no prior criminal record, and asked the court for leniency. He noted Gathing believed he was following the law by having his pistol unloaded and physically separated from ammunition.

Gathing told Stewart it takes six to eight weeks to receive a CPL from Genesee County.

“What the court would like to do is have you come back here with a CPL and you walk out of here without a criminal record,” Stewart said. “Then you’re square. That’s justice to me… It seems to me that that’s the right thing to do.”

Stewart indicated that if Gathing provides proof of having a CPL from Genesee County, the pending charges in Shiawassee County will be dismissed and Gathing would retain his right to own firearms.

During the traffic stop, Gathing also was cited for no proof of insurance, but later provided proof his vehicle had a valid policy.

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