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Reader Levon S. writes:

Anytime I go out in public, I have two firearms concealed and one that I carry openly. To some that’s overkill, but I like to be prepared. Up until yesterday, 100% of my encounters have been very positive. Most folks ask about carrying firearms etc. and I use the opportunity to educate them and give them some new information. While grocery shopping with my family yesterday, I had an encounter that wasn’t so positive . . .

While my wife was picking out some peppers, I saw that a man had taken particular notice of my openly carried Ruger SR9c. He made several passes around me before walking up to me and stating, “If you’re going to open carry, you shouldn’t semi-conceal also.” He was referring to my jacket partially covering another firearm.

Now I can’t say for certain that this guy was a law enforcement officer, but that’s my educated guess. I simply told him, “I have a CPL” and he walked away.

What concerns me about this situation is the lack of knowledge and ignorance of the law pertaining to openly carrying a firearm in the state of Michigan. If this guy was a LEO, he should know that A) openly carrying a firearm in an establishment that sells alcohol (which includes grocery stores) is illegal without a CPL, and B) if you have a CPL, you can carry your weapon 10% concealed, 50% concealed, 90% openly…it doesn’t matter. His opinion was completely irrelevant and he asked the wrong question.

If this guy wasn’t an LEO and was a fellow conceal carrier — perhaps one who’s anti-open carry — then again, the same scenario applies. He has a lack of knowledge of the law in question.

It just makes me shake my head at how some folks can be so ignorant when they speak, especially those who went to college and/or were trained to enforce the law. Also, just to clarify, I am not anti-police, I’m just anti-ignorance.

So thank you to the ignorant gentleman who has reduced my positive carry experiences to 99%.

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    • “If you’re going to open carry, you shouldn’t semi-conceal also.”

      Yeah, it sounds like the guy just expressed a personal opinion (said “shouldn’t” not “can’t” or the like). Going into a discussion about the law and how the guy was ignorant of it seems like a stretch. If I walked up to you and said “you shouldn’t wear brown with black” you can disagree all you want, but telling me I’m wrong because I’m ignorant of the fact that it’s legal for you to wear whatever color you want makes no sense. I mean, who said anything about the law?

      • Dan, a suggestion: relax! Not everything is a direct challenge to your life decisions. Make them and move on. I would expect that someone who carries three weapons on his person may be having issues with insecurity to begin with. An opinion offered by a stranger does not necessitate an article criticizing someone’s intelligence. I can’t believe I wasted time reading this.

        • This event did not happen to Dan; he’s just reporting it. It is a reader’s story. (Although, I do believe the photo is Dan.) Levon would be the guy your suggestion is aimed at, probably.

        • Right you are, Danny. Dean is the dude in the pic, Dan is the dude who posted the story, Levon is the dude who wrote the story, and I’m a dude who wrote a reply to a reply to a reply. I think 😉 Thanks for the clarification.

  1. “especially those who went to college” college education doesn’t negate ignorance and there are plenty of folk who never went that aren’t so that’s a poor statement all around

      • Education can impart KNOWLEDGE, but it never changes an intelligence level. What college CAN do, however, is convince any old body that he is the smartest thing ever born, by simply giving them a piece of paper that says so on it. What more does a brainless zombie really need? They believe anything they see written down, for they have been heavily indoctrinated in memorize and regurgitate. At these things, the Amerikan ‘education’ system does very, very, well.
        Witness the very basic grammar error in the HEADLINE above that nobody(with probably many, many years of higher education behind them) noticed(Well, except for me and Danny Griffen. [sic] 🙂 ), or at least, no one bothered to fix. Not that those here are zombies, I was only refering to every psych major I ever met…

      • +1 A college education can make you smarter, but nothing can fix stupid.

        Er, WTF? If it can make you smarter, it’s by definition fixing stupid, as stupid and smart are opposites.

        I think (I hope) you meant to say it could fill your head with facts, but nothing can fix stupid.

    • Education is merely the pursuit of knowledge and information, you don’t need a college or school to do it.

    • “The world is full of people that have been educated well above the level of their intelligence.”- Dragoon44

    • No one knows the difference between “your” and “you’re” any more. Not even the PhDs in journalism at the NYT, USA Today, WSJ, etc., etc., etc.
      If all of those billion ‘dollar’ media conglomerates can’t be bothered with third grade grammar, why should we expect a small blog to do any better?
      But thanks for showing me that I am NOT the only one left that notices these things…

      • You’re not the only one … and I most certainly did NOT major in English!

        By the way I was tempted to reply “Your’re not the only one …” just to yank your chain!

        • Then and than irritates me because they aren’t even close to the same meaning and they sound different. See this type of illiteracy 75% of the time. One guy used both words wrong twice in the same sentence.

        • How about an entire (otherwise very good) book that used “discrete” when “discreet” was intended, and vice versa–sometimes even on the same page! Who was the editor?

          I see “tenants” for “tenets” a lot too. And “could of” for “could’ve”

        • Steve,

          That “could of” or “should of” in the place of “could’ve” and “should’ve” really chaps my hide. I try not to be the grammar/spelling police, preferring instead to introduce the correct version in my response and hope the other takes notice. After all, everyone makes mistakes and nobody knows everything.

          Still, using “of” like that means they’re not even thinking. They’re just writing phonetically. Seriously, what meaning could “could of” possibly have? Yet, people write it.

        • The one that irritates me to no end is an “apostrophe S” to indicate more than one. I can’t figure out why that became so popular. It’s not “the truth about gun’s” for a reason.

      • Mine is “women” when it’s supposed to be “woman.” I’ve even seen that error on an ad at another guns page, and it’s the visual equivalent of nails on chalkboard for me.

    • English is fluid. It has changed many times and will continue to as time goes on. I would not be surprised if “you are” that contracted to “you’re” will soon just be “your”. Like who writes shoppe anymore?

      • Languages do evolve. But “your” is a possessive adjective and “you’re” is a contraction (you are). Since they have completely different meanings, I doubt they’ll become one in the same.

        My pet peeve is “it’s” when it should be “its.”

        Really people, language ain’t that hard.

        • become one in the same.

          One *and* the same.

          “It’s” vs. “its” I can understand, even if it irritates me too. Possessives always bear the apostrophe, except for “its” because it can be confused with a contraction. People are failing to follow the exception to a rule.

        • Mine is “looser” when they mean “loser”
          But your instead of you’re, to instead of too, there instead of their or they’re, break instead of brake bug me, also. I’m not an English scholar, but I do remember they actually used to *teach* the language in expectation that the students would *learn* how to use it effectively and correctly instead of ‘whatever fits’ like trying to text message on an old phone.

        • I was told early on that “ain’t” was not a word. So I’ve gone through life not using it, for the most part that is. Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong though.

        • @Matt — Oddly enough, ain’t IS a word. It’s a legitimate contraction (standing in for “am I not” or “is it not”) with a long history in English usage.

          I was reading the letters of Jonathan Swift recently, and he used it frequently. If he can do it, ain’t no reason why we can’t. All those stuffy English teachers can take a damn hike.

      • Only problem is that “your” is already a word, which bears no resemblance in meaning to “you’re”. Try “uer” if you want to make something up.

  2. Is that correct? You have to have a permit to open carry in a grocery store because beer and wine are sold there, not for drinking on the premises?
    I thought that only applied to sales of open drinks.

    • The open carry and concealed carry laws are very different. I tend to think it’s a bug, not a feature.

      Open carry without a CPL is prohibited in any establishment with a certain liquor license. I’m too lazy to look up the details on what that license is….

      But with a CPL you are allowed to open carry in all of the non-cpl open carry prohibited places.

      Some guy tested it a while back, the Genesee County Court ruled his CPL allowed him to open carry in a school, for instance.

      • Guess it would be nice to know what you’re talking about with open carry.
        Would be nice to have a law degree too.
        Be nicer if we had a Bill of rights…oh wait…

      • Actually carry of ANY type is prohibited in any place with a liquor license if you don’t have a CPL, whether they actually sell alcohol or not. This includes grocery stores and gas stations.

        Open or concealed is irrelevant.

        And yes, if you have a CPL, you can open carry in more places than you can conceal carry.

        • I guess you’re supposed to know who has a liquor license before you walk in?

          Geez. And I thought Illinois laws were stupid.

        • It gets better. The law prohibits concealed carry into an establishment whose primary source of income is the sale of liquor by the glass.

          Apparently if they sell more beer you’re good…..

      • So even at a gas station you can’t open carry without a CPL. What a crock of crap. Why have open carry then?
        Better question:
        Why have a Constitution?

        • Open carry? You can’t even possess a firearm of any kind in such an establishment listed in 750.234d.

          Having a carry license from MI or any other state is a blanket exemption.

          Since it’s so easy to become exempt, we try to focus on bigger issues.

          MCL 750.234d was passed with the state preemption law. Preemption wouldn’t have passed without 234d.

          MI is in a much better position that we were before preemption.

  3. I get it. But maybe next time just tell him instead of writing an article preaching to the choir?

  4. You violated your own rules by openly carrying two and concealing one. The guy was just giving you a friendly reminder!

  5. Two things hit me immediately:

    1) the way you describe the conversation sounds more tactical than legal, as in “it’s tactically unsound to display the second gun” and

    2) you seem awfully picky on who you’re willing to take time to educate. You open with a talk about educating through open carry then completely blow off someone that gets it wrong?

    • That was my takeaway from the reported conversation as well. If you are going to conceal your backup, it doesn’t make sense to leave it “semi-concealed”. Otherwise, you’ve just given away your contingency plan. That you had a third plan up your proverbial sleeve likely wasn’t something he was thinking about.

      To be frank, you came off as a bit of a jerk in your response as well. I am curious, though, what was the right question?

      Finally, I’ll own my ignorance. What made you think he was suggesting that concealed mandated concealed (although it makes more sense to do so, when you consider the compromises of CC) or that you could OC without a CPL?

    • Also, reading about the incident doesn’t convey the tone, body language, etc., but as negative responses go, sounds like it was on the mild end of the spectrum.

    • Perhaps he just wanted to visit a bit, trying to figure out what sort of operating operator felt the necessity to carry three gats to the produce section?

  6. As a Michigander who open carries more than not and is part of more than one OC group, I’m delighted to see an article on another Michigan OC’er.

    • Teaching opportunity?

      Every LEO in the state was taugh this stuff in state police legal updates. Especially the famous update #86.

      There is no excuse for them not knowing the law in Michigan.

  7. Dear Internet,

    Someone said something I didn’t like, so I’m going to complain about it here instead of saying something to them when I had the chance. My feelings were hurt, and maybe the guy was a cop, so I’m going to call him out for being an ignorant cop even though I don’t know if he was a cop or not. I mean, it makes me feel better and you can’t prove me wrong, Internet.

    Small In Real Life

  8. if he was/is a LEO, by court decisions he is not required to actually know the law, but be acting in “good faith”.

    different for citizens.

  9. College ain’t what it used to be.

    I’ve done been edjumacated in college and have a couple of engineering degrees. Over the years, newly hired cub engineers were often assigned to me (probably to weed out all except the ones with the thickest of skin).

    Aside from their naivete, many that I got in the past 10 years were very poorly schooled. Some bordered on being illiterate an lacked even rudimentary analytical skills. How they ever managed to get their names on engineering degrees completely escapes my feeble brain.

    They were, however, sensitive, emotionally fragile, caring and concerned about snail darters, and desert pupfish.

    Keeping calm and carrying is as much of a necessity to defend oneself from these boobs, as it is from gangstas, hoodlums, and other sundry ne’er-do wells.

  10. Here’s another opinion that anyone can take or leave. I’m not totin 3 weapons to the grocery store. Especially not while wearing a pith helmet. That seems a little bit nuts.

  11. Just imagine a future time when laws that infringe upon our right to keep and BEAR arms are all repealed. Then articles like this will disappear.
    Here’s a question for you:
    Why the hell should anyone have to be knowledgeable about the laws regulating a right that is supposed to be protected from infringement? Riddle me that, Batman.

  12. Intelligence isn’t all. You can have a high IQ and still be stupid.
    It all comes to how your (not you’re;-)) brains work.
    If you have a dedicated intelligence, you can be a genius in something, an the biggest idiot in every day life.

  13. If you say “I have a CPL” and the guy just walks away what would make you believe he’s a cop? An ignorant one at that?

    If a cop real concerns your say so would not have been enough to make him walk away.
    If a cop was just trying to gauge the situation and your response settled his concerns then he was not ignorant of the law as much as seeing if you were.

  14. 3 guns? IMO that’s overkill but to each his own. If you feel you need multiple guns, why not bring your EDC and truly conceal a BUG and carry a spare mag for each. That should be more than necessary for nearly any event. Me, I conceal carry one reliable firearm on a leather OWB belt holster and carry a spare mag in my front left pocket.

    • The Author must live in Detroit. If it wasn’t stated living in Michigan, I would have thought maybe Compton, CA . HEY, Maybe a “NEW” type of 3 gun competition called
      “MELON Patch” 3 gun – 3 fruit……………….

  15. When I see someone carrying, or that I think is carrying, I pay no attention at all. If you think it is somehow your responsibility to correct or critique someone else’s carry method, you might want to consider he may be a gang-banger just about to bang. If you feel like ignoring that, you should *certainly* be 100% up-to-date on the firearm laws of the state you are currently standing in. Otherwise, why not hesh up?

  16. “…To some that’s overkill,”

    Meh, that’s their opinion.

    What I want to know is what kind of belt do you use? Three firearms is going to be a noticeable bit of weight.. how do you keep your pants from winding up around your knees? I mean without cutting off circulation to the lower half of your body?

  17. The comment makes no sense. I semi conceal. As I have said many times, I carry IWB appendix. With an unzipped jacket, my weapon is mostly hidden, but visible if you’re looking down there. The reason for this style is it’s damn fast to draw. Really fast. When I carry groceries out of the store, I found that I can actually have my right hand gripped on the holstered firearm, but it looks like I’m holding a bag of groceries and it obscures the weapon.

    I don’t mind challenging people on ignorant comments. I most certainly would have challenged that comment by looking at the guy right square in the eyes and saying “why” Make him explain himself. If he dismisses you and won’t explain his comment, then he’s just a blowhard.

    A close friend of mine came over last Saturday and wanted me to clean his LC9. He’s never fired it. I field stripped it ran an oiled patch down the barrel and did a quick service. It didn’t need much as you can imagine. I loaded the gun back up with a chambered round and he asked me if it was legal to carry that way. (Washington State) He has a CPL. I sort of looked him like….WHAT? He went on to explain that an employee of his told him that you can’t carry a concealed weapon with a chambered round. WHAT!!?? I told him that his employee is an idiot and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s must be confusing transporting a weapon with no CPL, which he’s still off base on and clearly is misunderstanding the RCWs or he really is just an idiot. Too bad it wasn’t me he said that too because I would have had much more fun with it. I wouldn’t let that go with… uh, ok!

    • Geez! Your friend may be one of those edjumicated boobs Carl mentioned above. Dumbass folks are the real dangerous ones.

      I’m gonna consider carrying a backup gun for my backup gun also.

      • Dear Mr Kearsy:
        My friend is not unedumacated by any means, but he’s not well versed on the RCW laws concerning the carrying of weapons. That’s why his buddy was able to confuse him with erroneous information. I fault that in part for the fact that in Washington state, for a CPL, you need no class, no training, no nothing, not even a brain, to get your license. As such, people have CPLs with little knowledge of the laws pertaining to justifiable use or other areas that I consider pertinent. How many people actually sit down and read the applicable laws and statutes for any given state? I’m betting not a whole helluva lot. I’d say the readers here on the TTAGs are better informed.

        For instance, in many states, a CWP allows you to carry weapons, not just a pistol or handgun. In Washington State, a CPL, (concealed pistol license) is for a handgun only, not knives or any other weapon. I think that’s kind of an important little tidbit of information.

        • Does your edjumacated friend Google much? Or perhaps his main reference text is the Mother Earth News.

  18. The guy in the pic looks like he’s ripe to get choked out. 3 free guns and a safari hat…wooooot!!!!

  19. It’s ok to be a cop hater. Real good cops shrug it off. Power-thirsty a**hats can use some of that to be reminded of where their lunch money comes from.

  20. If someone needs to carry three firearms just to go to the grocery store he should consider moving to a better neighborhood or upping the Xanax. Three? Really? No wonder they call us gun nuts.

  21. Perhaps if the author had asked Why? we could more details to discuss. I would have been curious why me made the statement.

  22. Here is another vote for the author coming across badly. I thought the key attitute for carriers was mindfullness not arrogance. I do not think I would like this guy.

  23. So… What convinced you he was a cop? Or is that just a popular narritave these days? Or when you’re offended do you automatically assume the person is a cop? “That guy was an asshole. Had to be a cop.”

  24. Regardless of what the guy meant, if you are going to carry an additional “CONCEALED”
    firearm, while “open” carrying, for back, gun grab, or whatever, I would keep it
    “CONCEALED”. if “semi- Concealed” you are still BROADCASTING to the bad guys what you might have. Big deal you happen to have a THIRD weapon on you………………..

  25. My pet peeve is using ‘President Obama’ when ‘raving jackwagon’ is the proper usage.

  26. I don’t always open carry, but when I do it’s at 5 o’clock in a zero retention fobus holster. No, that’s not right. When I do open carry it’s in a level 2 retention holster at 3 o’clock.

  27. My SR9C longs to be like yours, openly carried. But although legal where I live, not PC, very few do it, and I would probably be SWATted by an hysterical Mom depending on the store.

  28. You could have probably said “I have a CCR,” or “I have a CLR,” and the guy probably wouldn’t have known the difference any more than he knew what “semi-concealed” was.

  29. I’m sorry, but at the sight of the pith helmet, I lost the ability to follow this story any further. When I go to the grocery store, I drape all my long guns over my shoulder and put my gun safe into the cart, just in case.

  30. Dear Mr. S.,

    May I be so bold as to suggest that you missed a valuable “teachable moment”, or at least the chance to strike up a conversation with fellow ‘Person of the Gun’?

    As it is, you almost certainly left a fellow traveller with the impression that you are rather unsociable at best, and a bit of a dick at worst.

    Let us not be or own worst enemies.

    Sincerely, PavePusher

  31. Also, Holy Balls, that looks just like my local Fry’s store here in south-eastern-most Tucson.

    Except that we don’t need a permit to CC……

    • It could be; the picture is of Dean Weingarten, while the story was written by a Levon S. I think Dean lives in AZ.

      • Ah, that makes sense. I was thinking the photo was related to the actual incident in the essay. But I believe, from his public info, that Mr. Weingarten is in Tacna, just east of Yuma.

        Of course, all the Fry’s here in AZ are set up nearly identically, so it could be anywhere.

  32. There’s no such thing as “semi-concealed”. That’s a ridiculous term. If anybody can plainly see any part of a weapon, it’s open carry. If they can’t, it’s concealed.

    If you are allowed to carry concealed and you allow your weapon to be seen in an open carry state, it’s not a crime. It may be bad judgement, but it’s not a crime.

    There’s no such thing as carrying “too many weapons”, as long as you can handle the weight. But I’m thinking two is sufficient for almost any encounter.

    And I’m also thinking that Levon S needs to grow a thicker skin.

  33. Why would you want to open carry? You give away the element of surprise and make yourself both a bullet magnet of it does go bad where you are and a target for theft.

    • The myth of open carriers being targeted needs to be put to rest.
      If it were such an issue, don’t you think TTAG would have a dedicated, sponsored post on the subject?
      Bravo Concealment OC Target of the Day: Pith Helmet Edition

      • well, i reckon it’s ‘cuz nobody ever held up a liquor store pointing a Patek Philippe at the cashier.

          • someone asked why a gun was more attractive than an expensive watch. jes’ sayin’. a visible gun is more attractive than a visible $7,000 watch, ‘cuz you can use the gun for a hold up.

            as fer takin’ an open carried gun, we have seen at least two episodes presented to this blog about open carry folks havin’ their guns taken before the carrier could respond.

            a little humor, ok?

  34. Well there’s 2 minutes of my life I can’t get back. Worthless uninteresting read about a mundane encounter that hurt someone’s poor widdle feewings.

  35. Sounds to me like you have something against cops and just wanted to have a chance to make them look dumb. You don’t have any evidence he was a cop, just some guy who noticed your gun in a liquor store. Maybe he is just a CPL holder who is also expressing his rights, but chose to try to start a conversation in a manner that was more awkward than intended. It’s just as plausible as your supposition. (In fact, I don’t think he was a cop at all. There is no such thing as “semi-concealed”.)

    You just made the mistake of “judging a book by its cover” while complaining that you don’t want the same treatment.

  36. Maybe the guy in the store thought you were as big an idiot as you thought him to be…Judgements about who is ignorant are very subjective don’t cha know?

    My pet word peeves are “to” versus “too” the former is a preposition, the latter an adverb. It’s too much to bear when someone writes, “Its you’re right to keep and bare Arms.”
    Whether we eat depends upon the weather and don’t forget that, either.

  37. “Anytime I go out in public, I have two firearms concealed and one that I carry openly. To some that’s overkill, but I like to be prepared”

    I have to ask: prepared for what? That’s more guns than most soldiers carry into combat zones.

    • Soldiers carry a larger load out of ammo and have multiple other soldiers to back them up. You alone at a gas station at night? Not so much.

  38. Sounds like friendly advice to me. If your concealed weapon is your backup in case of a snatch he thinks you want it concealed.

    He offered an observation and didn’t press it. I’m not sure why that seems troubling or ignorant.

    What am I missing here?

  39. Let me get this straight: While his partner picked palliative peppers, a prepper packing a plethora of pistols was presented a pernicious prescription by a pogue? Preposterous!

  40. Are you sure it was necessarily about the legality of doing so?

    My reading (based obviously, solely what’s in this article) was that he disagreed with the logic behind openly carrying while having another firearm partially concealed.

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