(courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Jeff the Griz writes:

I’ve been a Michigan resident since about two years of age. My parents transplanted me from Texas. I’ve hunted and shot firearms since I was about six years old. As an adult I purchased a few handguns. They sat in night stands and only saw range use – until I met some guys at a private range that shot IDPA . . .

I learned a lot about defensive shooting. They opened my eyes to the positive of carrying a firearm, the most efficient tool for defending my wife and child. In the beginning of this year, I received my CPL in the mail. I’ve carried daily since the arrival of that blue piece of plastic with that horrible portrait. I mostly carry a Smith & Wesson M&P in a Blackhawk retention holster (haven’t shot myself yet).

Responding to the on-going debate in Texas and various areas around the USA I decided to open carry. Michigan is an open carry state. There are few laws prohibiting places where I can carry openly. Even so, it’s a lot easier and safer to open carry in Michigan with a CPL. Mainly, I can travel in a car without locking my pistol in the trunk.

I’ve found it interesting that open carry has been so boring. Mostly people do not notice, I’ve only been asked about my gun by one guy on the street, two gas station clerks and my aunt’s neighbor.

Since I have been carrying I’ve only seen one other person open carry. When I spoke with him he reported the same experience, or lack thereof. No one seems to notice. The ones that do notice either don’t ask for details or they probably assume open carriers of a certain age are police officers.

Michiganders can’t carry a concealed firearm onto school property. I have to leave my firearm in my car.

My daughter is a crossing guard. Usually, I don’t need to go onto school property. On my days off, I meet her a few blocks from school and walk her home. Yesterday was the last day of school; the day she turned in her “safety patrol” jacket and belt. My wife had to go into the office. I was going to meet my daughter on school grounds with the gift she had for a crossing guard who was retiring.

Again no one noticed my gun – except the officer on patrol to control the high flow of traffic during the last day of school. I haven’t interacted with any officers in my five-plus months of open carry. I didn’t know if this encounter was going to become . . . interesting.

I smiled and waved as he motored past for a second look. He returned the gesture, just before I was able to locate my daughter in the sea of children running out of the building.

If people ask why I open carry I tell them I am exercising my rights. I also open carry so I can let people see it is a good thing, and encourage others to inform themselves on the law and their rights. Don’t let YouTube open carriers put you off. Open carry is no big deal, except that it is.

37 Responses to Open Carry Confidential: Michigan Edition

  1. Virginia has always had open carry and in my 67 years, I have never seen anyone pay any attention to it. It’s just the natural order of things. We also don’t understand why it should take more than 10 or 15 minutes to buy and walk out of the store with a gun.

  2. Jeff the Griz, what part of Michigan do you live in? I don’t recognize your “name” from MOC or OCDO, so I’m wondering if you are you using a different name here or don’t visit those forums.

    I’ve been open carrying in Michigan for five years. I live in Okemos. Your experiences aren’t uncommon. No one notices, and no one cares.

    • I live about 20 miles north of Detroit. I don’t visit the other forums, but did mention to my wife I was planning on joining MOC. I spend my internet time on TTAG, armslist, or educating myself in classic firearms.

        • No, my last name is the same as the first name of a character in a movie, nick name kinda stuck. If I’m not shooting private land in the north west part of Michigan I can sometimes be found at the indoor range at CQT.

  3. I only open carry to the range. I’ve stopped for gas or food a few times. NC is the first state I’ve seen where I will see an open carrier about once per week and about half of then are women. With my new to me P-64, Ive thought about carrying it as it has a holster that looks almost like a tool pouch. Although would cops try to say I have it concealed because the gun is fully enclosed in the holster? That could be a problem.

    • Hope when Open Carry becomes legal in Texas it is every bit as “boring” to fellow citizens as it is in other states. Nice to know women also Open Carry. It does surprise me that folks think just because you display a handgun you are law enforcement. Once at outdoor gun range in Texas Hill Country, my sister-in-law and I were setting up on a loading table to ready for target shooting. I had laid out a number of revolvers of 9mm, 357/38 stub nose, so she could pick out a “loaner” to have for times she drove to visit her mom a long 4 hr. drive. A guy next to us was observing the lay out of my collection, when I went back to her car to unload the ammo, he approached her and asked “is she law enforcement?” Her reply was ‘no, she just really loves handguns” with a smile and added “oh by the way, she has a CHL and is probably packing” Guess the guy does not encounter devoted gun gals very much.

      • Sometime after it becomes legal in Texas, as long as people actually exercise the right, rest assured it will become just as boring. 🙂 Ohio has had OC since 1851 or earlier but people fell out of the habit until concealed handgun licensing law in 2005. We had to start over somewhat but now it’s pretty much ignored except for a few places. The lesson is don’t let the exercise of the right atrophy or y’all will have to do it over again from square one.

  4. “I’ve found it interesting that open carry has been so boring. Mostly people do not notice, I’ve only been asked about my gun by one guy on the street, two gas station clerks and my aunt’s neighbor.”

    You’ve just described the one thing that gun-controllers fear the most. When private citizens openly carrying handguns becomes taken-for-granted behavior, when the act itself is viewed by average citizens as being so mundane and inconsequential that doing so is boring . . . the gun-controllers know they have lost the public opinion contest. .

    • Absolutely! More than anything, pro-state antis fear the normalization of gun-owners/carriers. They fear it so much that they pray for mass shootings so they can get their shabby mugs back on CNN, MSNBC, and any other propaganda network.

    • Yep. The more areas in Ohio that we open carry, the less of an issue it becomes. It became normalized in Yellow Springs Ohio (a liberal enclave & home to some celebrities) in just one outing. Now, we don’t have the slightest worry about bearing arms there. Within a month of the initial event, some of the progressive locals got in touch with us for help on a police issue and started a CopBlock chapter. It went from an adversarial situation to a cooperative one in little time once they realized that we were peaceful, law abiding people.

      Normalization works but people simply have to willing to open carry. There’s also maintenance open carry to keep the population accustomed to it. Signs might increase initially, or not, but they do tend to start coming down after a while. Generally, if a person has a mind to where legal, please open carry whenever and wherever you can.

      • “It went from an adversarial situation to a cooperative one in little time once they realized that we were peaceful, law abiding people.”

        That doesn’t surprise me. I’ve found most Ohioans to be towards the upper end of the spectrum when it comes to rational thought.

  5. Bravo Sir. Now this is what exercising the right is all about. No muss. no fuss. no “in your face” dramatics.
    Thanks.

    • The author described the experience of perhaps most open carriers. Some POTG make open carry out to be something it’s not as they clutch their pearls and spew forth nasty insults on their way down to the fainting couches. The Truth About Open Carry is that it is essential to the preservation of the individual right to bear arms through acclimation of the local population. Some of the fuss one might see is necessary initially but it’s the variety brought on by the local powers that be who do not like citizens exercising their rights. After initial incidents, and sometimes a lawsuit or two, things settle down and it can be quite peaceful. But, you can’t get there without someone re-blazing the trail… unfortunately. Everytime I’m called to be one of the trail blazers, I sigh because frankly I don’t want the hassle. But, it sometimes is unavoidable.

        • Lately, any of my write-ups would consist of: I went to go get milk and visit with friends. My sidearm was openly carried as always. I got a good price on 0% milk and had good fellowship. The end. Thankfully all is boring. 🙂 If it ever isn’t, I’ll make every effort to write about it.

          (I am sometimes involved in other aspects of the liberty movement but they don’t fit into what TTAG is about so the write-up wouldn’t make sense posted here. Although, I am usually openly armed at most protests. There too it is almost always the boring aspect and is thankfully a non-issue.)

  6. I’d guess your experience is relatively typical. Nothing for reporters to report regarding normal everyday open carry. It’s pretty boring.

    I’ve had basically the same experience open carrying in Delaware. Most people either don’t notice, or if they do notice, don’t react. I’ve had several positive encounters, and a couple neutral-to-negative ones. A couple folks assumed I was police or former military.

    I am in “southern” Delaware most of the time, so admittedly it’s a bit more gun-friendly (generally rural or small town, other than the coast and the state capital). But I haven’t had any issues when I’ve been in the northern bit of the state either.

    I continue to open carry, and nothing crazy happens. Imagine that.

  7. WTF is going on in that picture? Left hand cross draw, Serpa holster, 1911 half cocked?! Can someone explain?

    • He’s left handed. See the thumb safety and magazine release which are on the left side of most 1911s. However, he needs a better belt and why carry at half cock instead of cocked and locked?

    • Robb so people reading this in thr the future don’t question, why you asked, RF used a stock photo, or one of his own for the piece originally, he requested a photo but I was not able to send one until much later in the day. The current photo mine is of an M&P9c in a blackhawk serpa, right handed.

  8. Glad to see i wasn’t the only one to see the half cock! I think RF does things like that to see who notices!

  9. I want to see firearms and open carry become “boring” to society. That means no one cares if you do or don’t, and it’s normal.

    It’s already happening with marijuana. MJ used to be the demon weed, and legal or not, no one really gives a rat’s ass if you partake these days.

    • Thanks. I wasn’t sure how the people of the gun would take me using the adjective boring. In this case boring is good.

      • Boring is the perfect descriptor. Nobody pays much attention to most eyeglasses as they are tools to help people see better. The same is true for hats, jackets, boots, etc unless they really like the item and then they might compliment someone on it. It will be the same with a carried firearm once again; boring, mundane, commonplace, usual.

    • Weed wasn’t a big thing when I was growing up. Over time it became demonized and less accepted. The same thing can happen to anything that remains hidden from the masses too long. It will happen to bearing arms again even in these OC states if people don’t OC at least once in a while.

    • I am betting that Acevedo is instructing his force to be aggressive about shaking down the open carriers. I hope to God that I am wrong.

  10. Maybe I’m being overly cynical, but if I open-carry uneventfully for years, it only takes one overzealous and/or nervous cop or citizen to ruin my entire day. The chances of that happening seems to be increasing, even with the improving mass-acceptance of firearms in general; and is more likely than me being attacked by some thug.

    Here in N. Alabama, quite a few people open-carry on a regular basis. Seems like nearly everyone is armed or if not, are with someone who is. Just tonight at my store, I spotted three CC and one OC; and that’s low on average. All those guns definitely keeps things polite, excepting the occasional rowdy drunk or space-cadet junky.
    But the cops make everyone nervous, except for management; they get along famously.

  11. I’ve never experienced so much as a peep in CT, though I do not open carry frequently here. However, I care not if I print and I usually carry a large gun.

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