Thursday, July 30, 2009

Open Carry in Michigan - Legal but not Practical

There's an interesting article in the Oakland Press on a group named Michigan Open Carry and their plans for an open-carry picnic.

Pistol-packing picnic taking place in Oxford
People from across the state are expected to gather for a family-friendly picnic at Oxford Township’s Seymour Lake Park on Sunday, Aug. 2.

“It’s a regular family picnic, the only difference is the people there will be armed,” said John Roshek, an Oxford resident who helped organize the picnic.

Roshek is a member of Michigan Open Carry, a nonprofit organization that tries to raise awareness of a Michigan law that allows people to openly carry handguns without a special permit.

“You don’t necessarily have to have a concealed pistol license,” Roshek said. “As long as the pistol is legally registered to you and you’re over the age of 18, you can lawfully open carry a pistol in Michigan.”

He added: “Some restrictions do apply.”
No kidding.

Open Carry is legal and indeed a right in Michigan but it is surrounded and encumbered by numerous restrictions on that right.

For example, any time you get in or on a vehicle you must have a concealed carry permit as the firearm is considered concealed, not to mention the potential for violating school zone restrictions and Michigan's DNR and hunting rgulations when openly carrying a pistol, as well as numerous other restrictions.

Its also not tactically the best idea. From a tactical perspective it makes you a "shoot me first" target in any bad situation.

Then of course, most police officers are generally ignorant of this right and will arrest you for anything they can think of and sort it out later. Indeed, it is rumored some chiefs of certain cities do have a arrest open carrier on sight rule.

Open carry also tends to get officers suspicious of the carrier with the idea that you're carrying openly because for some reason you can't qualify for a concealed permit and therefore may be up to no good.

Open carry is good for rural areas where the people have a less, dare I say, close-minded and intolerant attitude towards firearms owners than one finds in Michigan's cities.

Now, the picnic is however useful for raising awareness of the general public that firearms owners in Michigan are law-abiding, responsible upstanding and regular everyday citizens. Given the ignorance and indeed outright hatred and contempt of firearms owners shown in the online comments to the article, such awareness can only be a good thing.

It would be nice if open carry became an accepted norm in Michigan, but until laws are effectively reformed to make it effective and people's atittudes are changed hopefully through exposure from picnics and other peaceful events like these, such a norm is a long way off.


Scott said...

I agree with you on the tactical aspects of open carry, and the usefulness of the picnic to make the general public aware of the laws in Michigan.

I'll bet those same Oakland County haters you mention would be silent or even supportive of a NAMBLA picnic, though.

The world is upside down.

Mike Stollenwerk said...

Open carry is well known to be legal in Michigan and all but 6 states; police harassment is rare and if it happens, actionable for damages.

Also, open carry has some advantages over concealed carry - it is simply incorrect to say one mode is better than the other.

Why don;t you check out the picnic?

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