I was all on board with these open carriers checking/establishing their gun rights at Detroit’s Rosa Parks Transit Center. The irony alone is worth the price of admission. And then I saw how one of the protesters was dressed. Slung AR, bullet resistant vest, thigh holster and head-mounted Go-Pro. Seriously? While I’m all about firearms freedom, there’s no need to dress like a tactifool to establish your gun rights. In this case, as in so many others, a gun in an outside-the-waistband holster would have been sufficient. Or would it? I reckon . . .

the LibertyIsForEveryone.com campaigners reckoned they wouldn’t be noticed if they’d tooled-up like a “normal” open carrier. And getting noticed (and ejected) was the whole point of the exercise. Yes, they’re within their rights. Yes, I’m on their side. But just because you can — or should at least be able to — do something doesn’t mean you should. Fail?

90 Responses to Open Carrying A Rifle Wearing a Bullet Resistant Vest and a Thigh Holster? Seriously?

  1. Agree with the stance, well within their right (here comes the but), but try not to look like a dumbass while doing it. As I’ve read and repeated over the years, if you want to make a statement about open carry, dress professionally or at least half appropriately. If someone is dressed in business attire with an OWB pistol, you aren’t going to think that they’re there to cause trouble. And likewise, if you dress sloppily and take pictures inside of a restaurant with your tapco’d to hell sks or walk around with a rifle, vest, and pistol, you may be a bit too obnoxious.

    Again: I don’t fault him for exercising his rights, but moderation and general appearance are pretty important too…

  2. Whenever I think, “that’s not how I would do it” when I see someone doing something, I remind myself that it would be a really boring world if everyone was the same.

    • no amount out of camo is covering that gut.

      Seriously, I’m all for personal self protection but that dude couldn’t unsling his AR without having a coronary. Learn how to operate your rifle, handgun, but for gods sake take a vigorous walk every day you’ll live a lot longer.

      • Think about this; more OFWG 2a supporters have been killed by diabetes/heart disease/cancer than anything else. The REAL enemy is INSIDE, guys….

        • Meh. What, exactly, does that have to do with civil rights? The Bill of Rights applies regardless of oldness, fatness, whiteness, or guyness, right?

        • More popo LOD have been killed by diabetes/heart disease/cancer than anything else other that automobile accidents. NOT badguy gunfire.

        • It has nothing to do with the Bill of Rights, but the point is that worrying about a bad guy with a gun is silly when you ignore the far more pervasive killer lurking in your own behavior.

          See also: observations that dangerous driving kills far more people than guns, so why is HRC focused on firearms and giving those behind the wheel a pass?

        • “See also: observations that dangerous driving kills far more people than guns, so why is HRC focused on firearms and giving those behind the wheel a pass?”

          Considering the thousands of people killed yearly by drunk drivers, why is there no demand for mandatory alcohol ignition interlock devices on vehicles?

          If you want the car to start, blow in the tube first…

        • Yup. I have seen a lot of photos of preppers / survivalists out there who look like they might have a heart attack if they tried to run 50 yards during an actual SHTF situation.

      • I agree that this gentleman needs to lose some weight. By the way, I’ve dropped 26 pounds since the first of the year. I plan to lose about another 15.

        • Anonymous – I eat a little less and exercise a little more (and little higher protein to carb ratio, but nothing extreme). It is amazing what avoiding soda pop can do.

      • Exactly. Note to the fool in the video who thinks he’s some kind of gun SJW. If you want to help…

        1. Lose weight. No one takes you seriously about anything when your obese. This is just simple physics.

        2. Dress appropriately. Remember, your dressing as a representative of gun rights. Not your militia. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but even if I was representing a militia, I’d wear a suit. Perceptions are everything.)

        3. Open carrying of rifles is fine provided open carry of pistols is illegal, and your fighting for handgun open carry such as in Texas. If it’s already legal, open carry of a pistol looks more professional, sends a better message, and is just more practical.

        4. Lose the vest, douchebag. Unless your city is being Katrina’d or Fergusoned, just don’t. That’s different. That’s when the time comes to nut up or shut up.

        • Good luck with #1 in the most obese nation in the world and everyone has a cellphone…

  3. I like to be armed and for other decent folks to be as well.

    I don’t care for seeing our cops looking like military. Too much like browns shirts from another time and place.

    If I see a.civilian dressed as in the video, I’d would view them as a potential threat until I knew otherwise.

    All things are legal, not all things are profitable. Ill stay with concealed.

    Not saying I’m right….just how I think. This stuff is not helpful.

  4. When you are fighting a PR battle optics are important. This is more an example of “look how cool I am.” Fail.

  5. His service is to highlight the futility of it all.
    Not signage nor a half dozen obese cops could prevent his actions.
    Prohibition is pointless.

    • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking as well. In addition to not covering as much as a larger one could, it is a fashion fail.

  6. Well, I’m not getting the photo, but I get the idea. If you want to have a demonstration, protest, whatever, simply wearing a full-size 1911 OTW may not do it, even if there are 5 or 10 of you. Either really take OC to extremes, or carry large multicolored signs, or nobody will even notice, and if they do notice, they won’t care.

  7. On a gun site, lots of folks saying open carry is bad, but if this guy wants to go put on a tutu and stroll into the woman’s restroom, well that is his right.

    • Far more effective ways to promote guns than open carry. And a guy in a tutu should use the guys restroom. It isn’t his right….

    • Looking like you’re ready for war (and a pie) does not get people on our side.

      If you want to normalize open carry than show how normal you are.

      Dressing like mall ninja (terminal operator?) just makes you look like a window licking nut job and a threat.

      • Like what exactly? Everything he had on him was legal to wear. Rifle, pistol, body armor. He was dressed business casual, wasn’t violent or flippant to the authorities he encountered. All good information for people new to gun ownership that are curious on how to behave when approached by police officers.

        I think that was his point — that you could put all that gear on and:

        1) The police won’t kill you
        2) To gather evidence that in that instance, those bus station employees and the police aren’t well versed in open carry law.

        When the Starbucks / Chipotle ninja stuff went down, the majority of the critical / negative comments by the TTAG community were that putting your hand on your rifle grip with finger pointed at the trigger or holding your rifle “at the ready” was in poor taste. Followed by their Texan attire and weight as well (flip flops if memory serves).

        As far as people mocking this guy for being fat… are you serious? The US is the most fat-ass nation in the world. Period. Weight is also decidedly irrelevant to open carry and gun ownership and I bet if everyone on TTAG had a full-body shot of themselves, it would be telling. The tougher the keyboard commando, the bigger their waist-line, or so it tends to be.

        Besides, this guy is out there actively exercising his rights. That should be celebrated so long as they aren’t endangering themselves or anyone else.

        Anyone that is critical of this guy is perfectly welcome to lead by example and show us how it should be done.

    • I open carry. A lot. I would always, but even with as gun friendly as my employer is that wouldn’t go over well in the office.

      I don’t mind open carriers. I don’t mind open carriers video taping their encounters with police. I don’t mind open carriers being assertive when said police are dicks.

      I mind very much when open carriers open carry for the sole purpose of instigating an altercation with the police, or anyone else. At that point you’re no longer an activist, you’re an asshole.

  8. Open carry (constitutional carry is better), is intrinsically good but this is a phase that we’ll have to go through before visibly carrying weapons in public becomes so routine that it no longer attracts the low self-image types who are attracted to anything that will give them cheap attention. The guy in the photo, like the Chipotle Ninjas, just wanted to be cool. He desperately wanted to be cool.

  9. Open carrying as political speech vs open carrying as a lifestyle.

    As political speech: Video everything, be confrontational, be loud with your load out.

    As a lifestyle: Dressed as you would everyday and go about your business as you would everyday even if you weren’t wearing a holstered gun on your hip.

    The question is not one of legality; the question is which of these two above options will “normalize” open-carried firearms with the public?

    • You know, that is an awfully good point. Suppose you were in an area where maybe 20% of people OC, everybody was accustomed to it, nobody cared. Now, suppose this clown walks in. Seems to me, in a restaurant or such, you could notice 3 or 4 people shift their positions to free up their gun hand, and 3 or 4 more get up and leave. OCing a gun and looking as if you are on the razor edge of civil war, or mass murder, are two very different things. The legality does not change, but it seems like you should not be surprised if the restaurant, for example, offers a couple of uniformed cops a free meal, and seats them right beside you.

      • Both you guys are making a brilliant, eloquent point. You’re right.

        The only counterargument I hear from the Chipotle-Ninja-supporters is along the lines of “well, gay pride parades in BDSM outfits led to normalizing gay marriage so Chipotle Ninjas led to Texas getting OC.” The lack of true, genuine, dictionary-defined common sense in those sentiments is breathtaking.

        Nobody blinks when a cop walks in with a pistol on his hip. Everyone stands up and takes notice if a cop walks in with an AR-15 or a shotgun at the ready. So it is with open carriers – if you want it “normalized”, act normal. Acting provocative will never make it normal.

        • Not defending him, but his AT was strapped on his back, a non-threatening way to carry. If he had it strapped on front at the low ready, then that would to me feel threatening. The way he carried would have gotten a second look from me, but nothing else.

          He was not abusive with the cops, made his point politely and left without to much protest. Even the cops didn’t felt threatened and told him to have a good day.

  10. The ill fitting vest puts it over the top for me; want to make a statement with a slung AR and thigh holster, fine. The vest looks more “active shooter” than “tacticool protester”, but maybe that’s just me.

    • I’m not sure why, but I agree. One reason might be that if I were going to wear a vest, you would not see it.

      • Having a plate carrier and armor myself, I try not to advertise its presence if/when I wear it in public (when happens extremely rarely, I might add, and mainly to keep me in the practice of it not being cumbersome by default), and I only OC with a drop holster (largely because I don’t have an OC hip holster for a full-frame pistol). I’ve even OC’d a rifle before as well. But this gentlemen is over-the-top. Half of any perception is the way you carry yourself, not just how you physically look. If we carry ourselves well in public, people’s reactions are generally much more welcoming.

  11. When the hippies said freedom of speech means they can use the most foul language in public, did they win? Did the founders envision pornography as free speech? Did they imagine that the Pentagon Papers which exposed technical secrets of advanced weaponry would be protected by the first amendment?

    Why do we imagine that extreme, but lawful, displays of firearms should be any less tolerated?

    The law is the law. You either support freedom or you support slavery.

  12. In the protester’s defense, he is in Detroit… He looks silly in downtown but just two miles away in the wasteland of abandoned buildings and overgrown lots, where the police take an hour to respond, his attire wouldn’t be controversial just prudent. People die and their bodies aren’t discovered for days even if they are lying in a field.

    • Good luck explaining that to a bunch of rich white guys who own the police force. For those of us who live in a dangerous neighborhood and no police in sight, it’s a different world.

  13. There are enough instances of manufactured grievances with liberals. This type of behavior is irresponsible and serves as nothing but firearms hyperbole. Had I been in that terminal and seen them walk in like that, my hand would have been on the grip of my weapon and I would have been moving my family and myself out of the area. People of the gun do not need this type of publicity. It’s asinine. Gun normalization means normal people doing normal things while carrying. The guy is a dumbass.

  14. He’s dressed just like those open carry texas losers who were tapco’d out at chic-fil-a.

    Like it or not, image is everything in our modern world. This guy is a walking meme. A joke. Guns are fun, exciting, cool, safe, useful, and necessary. Its easy to make anyone pro 2a with just one trip to a gun range.

    This clown makes it harder for me to get that undecided person to take that first trip to the range.

    • Well, one major difference between this guy and the famous Chipotle Ninja photo is that this guy has his AR slung on his back. The Chipotle Ninjas had theirs slung on the front, and in the famous photo one of them was actually holding his in a low-ready position.

      http://newsninja2012.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/chipotle3.jpg

      Actually, looking back on the photo, neither was dressed “tacticool” at all. Neither had a bullet-resistant vest or anything.

  15. About time BP start waking up. Police don’t kill people who can protect themselves. If BP would carry more often there would be A LOT less cop on BP murders.

  16. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I recently got some plates and a carrier for a birthday gift. Am I gonna wear it around town? No. I’m not in the business of law enforcement or war fighting.

    My state doesn’t have open carry, but if it did, I’d be judicious about where and when I did it and how. Believe me, I want that right restored, but when it does get restored, I’m not going to run around town in full SHTF kit. Unless the SHTF of course. Then I’ll gear up regardless of the law.

    The “professional” approach when it comes to proselytizing gun rights works best. If weather permits, wear a suit and tie. Actually proselytizing is a good comparison. The Jehovah’s Witnesses do their thing in professional attire. Rarely do they get yelled at or harassed. People are usually nicer to those presenting an outwardly good appearance. Ideally if I were doing an open-carry awareness rally or something, my attire would cost more than my gun. Hugo Boss and Heckler & Koch. Good combo!

  17. Legally within his rights and I don’t have a problem with it.

    He sure do look silly though. And I don’t really see a practical application for all that hardware, even in Detroit. It’s bad, but it’s not Afghanistan yet.

  18. Either we believe in the second amendment or we dont….. sure it’s not the way I would do it… but that’s how rights and privileges differ………

  19. >>> But just because you can — or should at least be able to — do something doesn’t mean you should. <<<

    Like farting in an elevator. Yes, you can. No, you shouldn't. Only an absolutely self-centered douchebag loser of the highest order would do such a thing.

    So, yeah, the parallel is surprisingly close.

    • I’m so glad I’m in the office alone today…my laughter at your elevator comment just roared through the entire third floor.

      Thankfully I was already done with my coffee!

  20. Meh, the camera looks stupid but could deter or document strong arm tactics. The rest, why not, if you’re going to take the time and try to make a statement it makes sense to go big.

  21. First, fail. On so many levels.

    But on a higher level, besides the fact that it’s currently weird what, exactly, is wrong with carrying a slung rifle?

    We’re the crowd that shots out “guns are tools” right? Would this be an issue if he were carrying a hammer?

  22. The real irony here is all the comments where y’all talk about how your OK with open carry practitioners until your not. Get over it. There’s no difference in actual threat level, stop acting like the lefties. The “OPTICS” of the situation are irrelevant. The facts are all that matter. It’s either a RIGHT or it’s not. Pick one.

    • “The real irony…..” I felt the same way when the whole Christopher Dorner thing happened. It’s okay to take a stand against police brutality unless you are Christopher Dorner. Every Mother should teach her kids how to shoot guns unless you were Nancy Lanza. We gun owners are quick to turn on one of our own.

    • Let’s make Burley’s point even more tangible:

      Consider two huge body builders who, with only their bare hands, could kill almost anyone almost instantly … and they are so muscular that this capability is obvious to everyone who sees them. Should they be banned from public places because of the “increased risk” that they represent to society? If they were wearing tank tops (making it obvious how muscular they are and how easily they could promptly kill any one of us with nothing more than their bare hands), would we demand that they be forced to wear loose clothing to hide the killing potential of their giant muscles? How are these open carry gentlemen any different from body builders?

  23. The police are standing there with body cams, vests, holstered side arms and a few extras lbs.

    Is it the MSR that has everyone clutching their pearls?

  24. Consider these comparisons:
    (1a) Citizen has a carbine visibly slung on their back.
    (1b) Criminal has a carbine hidden under a trench coat.

    (2a) Citizen is wearing a visible ballistic vest over their shirt.
    (2b) Criminal is wearing a hidden ballistic vest under their shirt.

    (3a) Citizen is wearing a visible handgun in a thigh holster.
    (3b) Criminal is wearing a hidden handgun in a holster.

    Those of you who project so much angst at those two guys: do you project the same level of angst against everyone in public who could have the exact same hardware and capabilities … in other words everyone who wears a loose shirt, jacket, or trench coat?

    And if you are so worried about gun-grabbers recoiling in horror over these two gentlemen and demanding — DEMANDING I TELL YOU! — that government disarm us, how are they any different from anyone else who wears a loose shirt, jacket, or trench coat and could have all the exact same hardware?

  25. He has every right to dress as he pleases. Its a free country(at least it used to be).
    And we have every right to make fun of him as a tactifool for it. Its a free country(at least it used to be).

  26. Gosh. Just look at those gays and lesbians, wearing all those flamboyant, flaming clothes, galavanting around, carrying signs and dildos and what-not, and holding hands and kissing each other.

    And look at those Sikhs, running around in their turbans and robes and long beards.

    Stop clutching pearls. Support liberty, even if you disagree with how it is (lawfully) exercised.

  27. It’s Detroit!

    He may need all that stuff! If the cops didn’t detain him, he probably would have had to use them by sundown.

  28. While this isn’t something I would do, they should have been ready to quote the exact law that allows them to open carry in the public place. They look like fools because they say they are within their rights, but then don’t bother to quote the law that allows them to do just what they are doing. Take a print out, or have it on your phone and show (don’t hand your phone) the law to the officers. Or recite it and then carry on, obviously knowing you are in the right because of the law.

    And yes, if I was there and saw these guys walk-in, like many others here, I would def. be on high alert.

    • they should have been ready to quote the exact law that allows them to open carry in the public place

      Do you know how laws work? Laws state what is illegal, not what is legal. There is no law saying I can wear a green shirt on Tuesdays, yet it is still legal. Open carry in Michigan, and Detroit specifically, is legal everywhere unless it is specifically spelled out as a GFZ in law by the legislature.

      By the way, it did look like the camera operator started to cite to one of the cops Michigan’s firearms preemption law (he began citing the MCL number before he was cut off). MCL 123.1102 expressly
      prohibits local units of government from regulating firearms, and that state law completely occupies the field of firearms regulation. Furthermore, in binding case law it was ruled that quasi-municipal corporations, authorities, and other subordinates to local units of government are covered by this law. That means the public bus terminal where they were.

      That’s what these guys were doing there, trying to find out if the cops were going to violate state law by enforcing the No Weapons sign. You notice that the cops did not.

      You talk about looking like a fool when you are the one looking like a fool. Interesting.

      And as for those who don’t know the background of these people, they do “freedom walks” through Detroit, Flint, and other urban areas armed with long guns and sidearms. NBC has done a piece on them. Lemme see if I can find it. Yep, here is a nice video. Watch and learn. You may not agree, but you will at least understand.

      http://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/fighting-for-the-right-to-open-carry-366204995936

  29. I get the whole open carry idea from a political standpoint, but to me it violates the advantage of surprise. And quite frankly, most of the people I see open carry don’t look like they should pass a background check. I think we would all fo better inviting iur neighbors to the range if we really want to change people’s opinions.

  30. The vest actually isn’t a ridiculous idea given how some cops might react to the rifle. Whats ridiculous is that he wore it on the outside.

  31. they should have been ready to quote the exact law that allows them to open carry in the public place

    Do you know how laws work? Laws state what is illegal, not what is legal. There is no law saying I can wear a green shirt on Tuesdays, yet it is still legal. Open carry in Michigan, and Detroit specifically, is legal everywhere unless it is specifically spelled out as a GFZ in law by the legislature.

    By the way, it did look like the camera operator started to cite to one of the cops Michigan’s firearms preemption law (he began citing the MCL number before he was cut off). MCL 123.1102 expressly prohibits local units of government from regulating firearms, and that state law completely occupies the field of firearms regulation. Furthermore, in binding case law it was ruled that quasi-municipal corporations, authorities, and other subordinates to local units of government are covered by this law. That means the public bus terminal where they were.

    That’s what these guys were doing there, trying to find out if the cops were going to violate state law by enforcing the No Weapons sign. You notice that the cops did not.

    You talk about looking like a fool when you are the one looking like a fool. Interesting.

    And as for those who don’t know the background of these people, they do “freedom walks” through Detroit, Flint, and other urban areas armed with long guns and sidearms. NBC has done a piece on them. Lemme see if I can find it. Yep, here is a nice video. Watch and learn. You may not agree, but you will at least understand.

    http://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/fighting-for-the-right-to-open-carry-366204995936

      • Apparently Farago has gone to bed. Farago was for OCT when they OCed long guns to protest bad law, but is against HS when they OC long guns to protest local units of government actually violating state law with impunity.

        The people here who whine about things such as this probably don’t know what we’re experiencing in MI. Our state preemption law has no teeth. If someone or some entity violates the law, there is no punishment. We’ve had a city attorney tell us that they will enforce their own laws, even though they violate state law, and if we don;t like it, “Sue us!” We’ve had the mayor of a major American city (Grand Rapids) say on television that he hopes US citizens are confused about their gun rights. He actually used the words, “hip-hip-hooray” on television.

        I think the people in this video wanted to see if the cops would enforce the no weapons policy, which clearly violates state law if it includes firearms. The cops didn’t. Didn’t they prove a point? Didn’t they win?

  32. This is how freedom is supported. Those in California, Oregon, Washington state, new york, Connecticut, you people can learn from this example.
    These men are civil rights warriors. Same as the open carriers in texas. It is not silly to have a camera on your head while being surrounded by policemen. Dressing in a silly way does not project a threat.
    These men are doing the hard work so other people can live free.
    The people of Detroit are in a battle for their freedom.

  33. Mr Farago, being a founding member of LIFE I think I may have some useful insight into why we do these things, and also sent you a FB friend request in case you are further curious or concerned about what we do and why. In particular, if you can please understand the DPD’s 6 year history of charging innocent black men with unlicensed CC when they were in fact OCing lawfully, and repeatedly drawing on those of us who have protested this including with long guns as you can see on our videos, and that the main stream gun community consistently either doesn’t care, or ridicules us (as we see in these comments right here) while also cheering on the NRA puppet chief who allows this to continue for years and has told us to our faces we are wrong in spite of overwhelming evidence and their garbage charges repeatedly being dropped, then perhaps you can understand why long guns, video cameras and body armor preferably with plates on top of kevlar is standard preference for our DPD protests. When you are dealing with a large percentage of lunatic felon cops in a large and hugely underfunded and disorganized agency, your life and freedom are both in jeopardy, and body armor and live streaming footage are both exceptionally potent safe guards to keep the crooked cops honest and holstered, especially now that they understand acting like fools will make them famous and generate anger from the local community, which largely loves us for sticking up for them when the burbs absolutely don’t care.

    If you read our know before you go section you’ll see that we prefer body armor to be concealed. Certainly too carrying an AR in such a difficult to reach position is not something I’d endorse either. But keep in mind that while we make suggestions and if someone is unsafe or politically off to an extreme we won’t invite them back, we aren’t out to control what someone else does so long as they aren’t trying to harm anyone else or their property. We represent the cause of voluntarism not just guns, and as such each person who participates represents themselves, not anyone else, and participants in our walks and other events have a broad spectrum of beliefs, equipment and skill sets. The gentleman with the AR in this video is firmly of the voluntarist mindset, and as such, while he hasn’t been in many of our vids is a welcome addition to any of our events. We show our pure reality as it unfolds, for better or worse, so anyone with sufficient interest can learn from our success and mistakes, and also point out what they think we could have done better, which I sincerely appreciate you doing.

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