(courtesy snarkbytes.com)

Earlier today, we ran a post entitled Open Carry Confidential: Michigan Edition. In it, Jeff the Griz writes about daily open carry in The Mitten State. “I’ve found it interesting that open carry has been so boring,” he declares. Copy that. Open carrying in Rhode Island and New Mexico was about as eventful as an obscure history professor’s book signing. How in the world do we square those experiences with those YouTube “Am I free to leave?” police interaction open carry videos and, more to the point, this [via Detroit’s freep.com] . . .

Michigan’s controversial “open carry” laws allow people with concealed carry permits to take guns into so-called pistol-free zones, such as schools, as long as the weapon is visible. There is no state law regulating open carrying of weapons in other areas as long as the weapon is in plain view, according to Michigan State Police.

Now courts are weighing in, and state lawmakers are reviewing the laws.

“We’re seeing sporadic reports of it from around the state, those who are trying to draw attention to themselves and it’s needlessly alarming people,” said Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, which has 1,100 members. “People aren’t used to seeing someone brandish a gun in front of their kids’ schools.”

Stevenson said the increasingly confrontational nature of the clashes is dangerous.

“It puts the police in a position where, we don’t know what their intent is, so they’re going to approach this person, not realizing that the intent is to hurt somebody. It’s a terrible situation what these people are doing, somebody is going to get hurt.”

Is that a threat or a promise? And why do I not find it surprising that Officer Stevenson reckons that Americans exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms are “needlessly alarming”? And uses the term “brandishing” without the slightest understanding of its legal definition? Or maybe the cop used the term inappropriately on purpose . . .

This post also hits your screen on the same day I blogged New York Times’ writer Gail Collins column Guns in Your Face, in which she asserts that open carry is a reflection of disempowered white racists. And Dan blogged St. Louis Zoo’s decision to legally designate themselves as an amusement park to forestall an open carry demo on its grounds.

Clearly, the mainstream media declared war on open carry. Clearly, the open carry movement is gaining ground. (Watch this space for coverage of Texas Governor Abbott’s signing ceremony for licensed open carry.) This is no time to back down. It’s time to tool-up and carry on, openly. Someone ought to tell that to Michigan Republican State Sen. Mike Green . . .

Michigan lawmakers are looking for ways to ratchet down the emotion attached to the issue. Republican Sen. Mike Green, a staunch Second Amendment defender, said legislators are being lobbied by school administrators demanding change. He is working on a proposed law that would allow those with concealed weapon permits to take them into gun-free zones like schools, as long as they were concealed — the exact opposite of the existing laws.

With no guns in sight, there would be fewer upset or anxious people, he said. “Yes, it does cause a lot of problems, and we see this as a way to fix it.”

He is anticipating pushback from some schools that want no guns at all. “I understand that, but I believe in our right to arms ourselves.”

You see why I’m an absolutist? You see why I want to open carry and encourage ALL gun rights advocates to do so? If not, remember the old saying “out of sight out of mind”? Add this: “a right that’s hidden is soon forgotten.”

Note: Does anyone know the ID of the woman above? She’s become the de facto poster child for open carry. Send any deers to thetruthaboutguns@gmail.com.

100 Responses to Open Carry Backlash?

    • It depends. I live in Branch County (rural by Southern MI standards) and see open carry as regularly as I do in Indiana. Folks notice but mind their own. Open carry in Ann Arbor on the other hand would be an adventure.

      • Open carry in Ann Arbor on the other hand would be an adventure.

        Michigan Open Carry is holding an open carry event in Ann Arbor soon. The details are being finalized.

  1. “People aren’t used to seeing someone brandish a gun in front of their kids’ schools.”

    You’d think the spokesman for a police organization would comprehend the difference between wearing a holstered gun and brandishing one. Or does he think he walks around all day brandishing a shirt and pants?

    • I guess the cops go around all day “brandishing” their weapons. Should we ask them to leave their weapons in their cars to avoid scaring the little children, their parents, and school staff? Are the cops more trustworthy and less prone to committing crime than the average person licensed to carry a weapon, concealed or open? Hmmmm – just wondering!!!

    • If open carry constitutes ‘brandishing’ then police writing speeding tickets constitutes ‘armed robbery’. Between brandishing and armed robbery I’d rather be the victim of the former.

  2. I have had a Michigan CPL for 6 years and have only open carried a handful of times. I’m starting to get tired of dressing around my gun.

    So can anybody recommend a decent OC holster for a CZ-75?

    • I’ve used a OWB Tagua leather thumb break for my CZ75. It’s served me well the last few years, but I don’t carry it as much as I used to–the 75 is a heavy beast.

    • A leather pancake with an FBI cant. Lots of people make them. Wright and Kirkpatrick are two of my favorites, and there is always Mitch Rosen (all three American made). Then again, De Santis and Galco make them too. Depends on how much bling and handwork you want.

    • I have been looking at cz75, and clones. I like larger bore pistols but I have a fondness for SA 9mm heavy framed pistols.

      • I’ve carried a TZ 75 purchased at wal mart in 1982 as my duty weapon. It is one of the most reliable and accurate pistols I’ve ever carried. The EAA Witness is almost as good. This is saying a lot for a died in the wool 1911 guy who has shot some of the most finely tuned and tricked 1911s produced.

        I carry the TZ in an old leather holster made for a S&W Model 59. Pappy (inventor of the original pancake holster) modified it to accommodate a thumb brake. I occasionally wear it concealed. On my frame and build it does not print.

      • You won’t be sorry. I bought a cz 75 a few years ago and it was bar none, one of the best firearm purchases I’ve ever made. The cz style frame to slide rail system puts the barrel lower in your hand, for better shot placement, less felt recoil, and the barrel system is very accurate. It makes me look like a better shot than I really am. And it can be carried cocked and locked. The cheks truly improved the browning hi power design.

        • I carry the P07, it’s a little less weight on the belt but still has all the CZ 75 goodness. I’m still waiting on my 19-round P09 mags to come in (which work in P07s) since CZ-Customs canceled my last order for no reason after a three-month wait on backorder, so I’m stuck with 16-rounders for now.

    • I’ve gotten by with a Fobus paddle but the retention on it isn’t so good. It has the virtue of being readily removable for going into prohibited areas.

  3. It’s curious that legal, open carriers are presumed to be intent on offensive criminal aggression as opposed to merely be protective of their person and that of their families. Yet felonious “migrants” are considered and important element for an improved society

    • . . .Un-credentialed people (with not enough i.d. to drive there, or attend a (D) [DNC] campaign rally) can show up and vote multiple times in the name of long-dead voters.

      That Communism and Socialism need just one more shot to be successful
      That Abortion is a health issue
      That America needs to be humbled and under UN authority
      That Indonesian volcanoes that spew 100K tons a day of blue-fire molten sulfur and noxious fumes into the atmosphere but would be in perfect balance with the planet and nature if it were not for mankind.
      That labels are bad, if someone is called a Liberal, but Hillary can say that Republicans want 1 million people to be prevented from voting. . .
      That we don’t go through the same pattern of cr_p every ~80 years or so, and the results are always the same.

    • @ Sammy
      That’s because of who is defining the dialogue; the liberal antigun politicians and the antigun liberal MSM all at the behest of the antigun industrial complex who are doing everything they can to project deviance and criminality onto anything related to keeping and bearing arms by legitimate law abiding gun owners.

      Notice that antis and media pretty much give the bad guys a pass when it comes to guns; they’re not even mentioned other than as a byline. To them the rhetoric is all about the ‘gunz’. The antis’ have put their focus primarily on making it unacceptable for law abiding citizens to have and carry…’gunz’

  4. Yep, almost eight years of OC’ing a 1911 in down town Albuquerque; around police, the general population, university students and tourists. Not one youtube worthy drama moment.

    Knock on wood. But I still carry my audio/video glasses, better to have them and not need them.

  5. To the state sanctioned thug and his “1,100 members.”

    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………..,/¯../
    ………………./…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`•¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.•´
    …………\…………..(
    …………..\………….\..

  6. Concealed carry or no carry has become the status quo in so many places and all it has done is sensitize people to seeing guns. I agree on absolutism; the alternative is incrementalism.

    • Yep. My buddy upgraded to a hotter, younger, skinnier, less bitchy wife and hasn’t looked back since.

      • To paraphrase the old joke, I uninstalled Wife 1.0 a number of years ago. Removal was expensive, complex, and took a very long time. I’m currently running a version of Girlfriend that’s been stable for many years, and I’m quite happy about that. Now, if I could only get her interested in shooting. . .

  7. I think OC while looking to cause a stink and then say “LOOK AT ME, muh rights are in jeopardy!” while within your rights, is a bad way to go about things. I think the best way to go about it is to appear as normal as possible and OC. If anyone asks you anything, be polite, be courteous, and don’t make a scene. These sporadic reports see to be people who really want attention, and are using OC as their vehicle to get it. I firmly believe that we can catch more flies with honey, so we should just be normal people carrying guns.

    • I agree. Also agree that the lady in the picture is a great example of an attractive and agreeable looking person that appears to have a great attitude and also just happens to be carrying a pistol.

      • However I would suggest she tote her cell phone on her weak side… some dumbass might consider reaching into her strong side pocket for her phone a ‘furtive movement’.. not that they know what that word means either.

    • Absolutely. OC like you’re not and, aside from trained, professional pearl-clutchers, no one will bat an eye. That said, at least the in-your-face folks got it on the radar.

  8. I guess I’m a squish, but I think CC I’d much more appropriate for schools. I don’t card about causing lefty teachers to get the vapors. I care about attracting little hands.

    • It can be a pain in the ass. I’ve gone to dozens of public-affairs events in uniform and had to swat away little hands. And my well-polished boots got stepped on as well. Our policy requires only a single retention holsyer, but I’d recommend double or triple retention for schools.

  9. Too be more on topic, I don’t advocate open carry as a realistic means of self defense in urban areas. If it’s to carry in the woods or other rural area where animals can appear from nowhere leaving a person with little time to react, then I absolutely believe open carry is best.

    Urban open carry draws needless attention and makes a person have to be even more aware of their surroundings. If it’s for a rally or protest, then I’m all for it.

    Also, open carry should not be restricted by any state or local gov’t. As such, props to Texas and Gov. Abbott for making it legal again.

    • I open carry in the suburbs, about 20 miles north of Detroit, I don’t see the logic in your post as the Urban “animals” can be even more dangerous but are just smart enough to pick a softer target. Yes open carry calls for a greater level of Situational awareness but I accept the responsibility.

  10. I think the vast majority of the you tube videos of people having “interaction” with the police over open carry are setups. The guy in the video is almost always confrontational and seeks to escalate things. Same with the border patrol videos; guys looking for a confrontation.

  11. Google image search identifies her as Open Carry Girl. I found a copy of the image named “Gun girl SB 1070 rally in Phoenix.jpg”. The first copy of the image I was able to locate in just a few minutes effort was from a June, 2010 blog about the aforementioned SB 1070 rally in Arizona. Sorry, that didn’t come up with a name, but maybe I’ll revisit the search when I have more time.

  12. OC being a legal option will further the cause of re-normalizing guns in our society. Whether I would do it or not, I don’t know, but I’m all for it.

    And yes, as for how you OC, the best bet is to make it look like it’s part of you. Don’t go Chipotle Ninja.

  13. The vast majority of humans are born to be slaves. Even Americans. Seeing free people doing nothing more than going about their business can make them angry, envious, and overwhelmed with inadequacy. They hide behind many masks – like child safety, public safety, and officer safety – but in the end, their hate and vitriol simply comes from them being cowards too afraid to throw off their chains.

  14. ““People aren’t used to seeing someone brandish a gun in front of their kids’ schools.”
    Holstered or a sling on a long is NOT brandishing a weapon.
    And not used to it because, at least in Texas, open carry of a handgun has been illegal for 140 yrs. People of the liberal bent, get used to it! Less likely to get shot by an open carry citizen than being eaten by T-Rex

    • You planning to do anything special 1 January? A lot of people somewhere were talking about being in a walmart and removing their overcoats just after midnight…

  15. Many more people OC in Michigan schools than most realize. Very few make the newspapers, that’s because there have been complaints only a few times. Most holstered pistol OC in schools is uneventful, even for school field trips. One school in MI even came up with a “we’re okay with OC” policy.

    So far, really only two schools in the entire state have been problems, Clio and Ann Arbor, and they are being sued. LGOC for attention is a different matter.

  16. My thought is to think very carefully about where we OC. Start with places where we know there will be cops around. The first thing to do is to clear-up with the rank-and-file of each local police department that OCing is normal; make it normal for them. If there are 4 cops standing on each corner, then that’s the place to OC.

    Now, think about the cognitive dissonance the average citizen is going to have to overcome. Here’s a civilian OC; there is a cop OC. Is the cop exhibiting any distress? No; apparently, he is returning greetings with the OC guy as he passes by and greets the cop. Is it time for me to get my bikini-in-a-bunch? Shall I run up to the cop screaming: Officer! Officer!! There is a man with a gun!!! Probably not.

    Branch out next to strip malls; shopping malls; picnic areas, etc.

    Last, walk by schools. Preferably, have the ladies with children walk by schools before men with children. Lastly, men with/without wives walking past schools.

    The troublemakers will want to create a political problem by prancing around schools first with AR-15s. That’s the last thing we ought to be thinking about if we want to gently introduce guns-as-normal in polite society.

    • Agreed. If and when the desensitization process has made significant progress, I might reconsider taking up the OC practice when it suited me. But I have no desire to be an activist in the interim, beyond sporting an NRA license plate on my truck and trying to be a courteous driver.

      There is a large gulf to be crossed between here and there, and an incremental non-tone-deaf approach like you advocate seems like the smart path to take if actual progress is the goal of the activist, rather than ideological martyrdom or attention seeking.

      Instead of lone OC guys in camo pants and ARs walking by schools, I’d like to see more family-inclusive events like group outings to restaurants, with holstered handguns. The PR value of some events like OC barbecues or picnics might be enhanced by inviting police to visit the events and welcoming them as part of the armed community, rather than waiting for them to show up on their own and acting indignant when they do. Doing this could go a long way towards changing police perceptions. It would also allow for photo-ops of armed average-looking folks hanging out in a non-confrontational way with police around.

      • Many states/organizations, including Michigan Open Carry which I am a member of, does just that. We have lunches and dinners at restaurants all the time, sometimes more than one a weekend. Attendance is typically between 15 and 40 people. We have picnics several times a summer. One of our picnics had an attendance of 200 people, almost all open carriers.

        Groups and organizations already do this. You just don’t know about it because you’re not plugged into the OC community.

        • Y’all in the OC community need to show the rest of us how it’s done properly. We’ve seen the MSM’s carefully cropped photos from TX but no photos of picnics, families etc.

          How about sending a set of pics to the TTAG and make it a regular feature: “OC Demo of-the-Day”

        • Here in Michigan our OC picnics are covered by local and state media, so those pics do appear in newspapers and online news sources such as MLive. They are non-controversial so they aren’t picked up by the national media.

          If RF is interested in posting a bunch of pics in an article, I probably could write something up showing examples.

    • Don’t forget driving the lefties crazy: lesbian couples and gay couples open carrying.

      I would SO love to march in a Gay Pride parade in an NRA contingent…… but I suspect an ambulance corps would be needed for all the resultant heart attacks.

      • There is a gay-guns organization called Pink Pistols. They submitted an amicus brief in the Heller case.

        I suspect that these guys know something about coming out-of-the-closet that we could put to good use.

  17. Also, Detroit’s freep.com is wrong. There is no “open carry” law, just as there is no law allowing you to wear a green shirt on Tuesday.

  18. You know, half the problem with scary, dangerous guns being scary and dangerous is willful ignorance of every scary, dangerous tool in people’s lives all the time. A baseball bat is scary & dangerous, and can be deadly. Yet, thought baseball bats are used to bludgeon people from time to time, their power isn’t recognized. Baseball bats are seen as inert. Just like the accidental risks from things like swimming pools don’t count, while accidental harm of any kind involving a gun is because of the gun, not the accident.

    I wonder if an additional approach to normalizing citizens carrying guns would be carrying other dangerous things. I wonder if the objection to guns isn’t mostly that their mere presence reminds people of all the other dangerous things in their worlds.

    “Brandishing” in the above article made me think of this. “Brandishing” amounts to handling a potential weapon in a manner that indicates the intention to use it, immanently, as a weapon. One can brandish a knife, and yes, a baseball bat. A holstered gun is not “brandished.”

    I think just calmly contradicting the over-statements is the move with such stuff. “Oh, you mean waving it around like he was going to shoot someone? You know, like waving a bat to intimidate someone?”

    Make the connection between one risk and the other by treating them similarly. Leave it to the other side of the argument to claim that they are not the same in this way.

    • “I wonder if an additional approach to normalizing citizens carrying guns would be carrying other dangerous things.”

      Sounds like a great idea! How about some faux artifacts in sizes proportionate to the number of deaths. Big swimming pool, big car, smaller bat and guns. Attach signs with the number of dead/year by each artifact.

  19. No! This kind of language has to be called out!

    “…“People aren’t used to seeing someone brandish a gun in front of their kids’ schools.””

    Wrong.

    Brandish – verb ~ wave or flourish (something, especially a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement.

    Carrying a firearm in a holster is NOT brandishing a weapon.

    • Especially pertinent in Michigan where this article is written and written about. Brandishing is defined in law, to wit:

      (c) “Brandish” means to point, wave about, or display in a threatening manner with the intent to induce fear in another person.

      http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-750-222-amended

      No brandishing is going on in schools. People calmly OC in schools every week.

  20. I prefer to be the grey man. Not the activist with a target on his back who is inviting confrontation. Because if you open carry, then sooner or later you are going to encounter people like some of the commenters who posted in agreement with the following article. Read the comment by Jim MacQuarrie for an idea of some of the idiocy you might encounter:

    How should people respond to open-carry gun-rights activists?

    http://www.pqed.org/2014/06/how-should-people-respond-to-open-carry.html

    Of course, there are other concerns with OC:

    Man Practicing Open Carry Rights Gets Robbed Of His Gun

    http://www.kptv.com/story/26729956/man-openly-carrying-new-gun-in-gresham-robbed-by-armed-man

    • No matter how many times you trot out that story of a guy hanging out on a street corner at 2:00 AM, showing off his UNLOADED gun to others, it just makes you look, um, less than smart.

      Don’t like OC? Don’t.

    • Go ahead and do what you think best in the particular situation.

      If you are a participant in a gun-rights demonstration you won’t be grey anyway. So, that’s a different situation.

      To hold your state as a CC you needn’t disparage other OCing; you can publicly support others in the gun rights movement who don’t feel as strongly about being a grey-man and feel more strongly that it’s important to inoculate the population against hoplophobia.

      The Brits would not stand-up and defend their gun rights; and so, they were take away from them. If we Yanks were all grey-men would we suffer the same fate?

      • Those of us who cared did, as much as we could whilst remaining within the law but even prior to ’97 there were less than 150,000 firearms owners in the UK if shotguns ere excluded (add 600,000 for them).
        We’re still not totally disarmed & in fact firearms ownership in the UK is increasing.

        Please don’t see the UK as in any way similar to the US WRT firearms ownership, as we’ve never been big on firearms ownership at any time throughout history.
        We may well have a common language & similar heritage but apart from that, the US is STILL a younger nation & one where firearms have a far more mundane & routine presence.
        Compare the US with the rest of the Americas for a fairer view & apart from Canada, the abuse of firearms is WAY less on comparison.with other American nations

    • Probably would fall into the category of the now-defunct (or nearly so) Israeli supermodels. Now that Robert’s been domesticated, we don’t see them much any more. . .

      😉

      • It was a dark and sad day when the just because Israeli supermodels posts went down the drain.

  21. That girl needs a better gun belt. That way the gun wouldn’t ride down so low on her hip–oh … nevermind.

  22. If the media and politicians hate it, you know you’re doing something right. A sure barometer to know whether you’re doing the good, right thing is to see if the NYT or any politician with a D after his name hates it.

  23. How about an ad like this.

    Image of some OFWG with his wife OC’ing near a playground. Grand-parent types. Young child approaches couple and gestures toward guns. Legend:
    – “Will you cover my 6?
    – My mom doesn’t carry”.

    Maybe a couple of versions; white OCiers with minority child; Black OCiers with white child.
    Maybe have the guy wearing insignia referring to Viet Nam or Gulf War.

  24. The anti- argument is disingenuous, erected on a false pretense.

    Peaceably wearing a visible sidearm is NOT “brandishing”, by both the linguistic and legal definitions.

  25. The sight of someone open carrying a firearm is not a reason for a rational person to become fearful.
    The problem lies with that person’s mental health & the media’s incessant portrayal of firearms as an object to fear.
    Motor vehicles kill more than firearms, yet I hear no outcry about them being openly driven on the public highway, despite doing so NOT being a fundamental right.
    Heck, I’m a Brit but I’ve open carried in NM with the appropriate paperwork needed by a furriner & the reaction from those around me has been…

    …crickets……

    God Bless America.

    • [q]Motor vehicles kill more than firearms, yet I hear no outcry about them being openly driven on the public highway, despite doing so NOT being a fundamental right.[/q]

      In my world, this is covered by the 9th and 10th amendments.

      Just because the Framers couldn’t conceive of airplanes in the 1789 doesn’t mean that an airplane isn’t the equivalent of a horse and buggy in terms of “conveyances of the day”

      • There’s a fundamental difference: your firearm is always, if carried correctly, on your property, i.e. your person. No one has the authority to say what you may or may not do with your person, so there can be no law or rule against bearing arms. But your vehicle is going to inevitably be traveling on someone else’s property, and there is no inherent right to be on someone else’s property.
        Thus, the right to bear arms is not only inherent, but is universal and cannot be restricted by anyone, since the arms you bear are always on your own property, but the right to travel can be restricted by those across whose property you travel.

  26. Law abiding citizens need to exercise their right! If open carry is the law then do it, if it’s conceal carry then do it! When it becomes more common place to carry firearms, the blatant ignorance of gun control freaks will be exposed for what it actually is a willful effort to control people by denying them their rights.

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