Michigan Open Carry recently scored a victory in Royal Oak. The pressure group forced the city to reexamine and, eventually, rescind a firearms ban for its Eats, Beats and Arts festival. I contacted one the prime players in the saga: Paul Dalrymple. I asked him to create a “playbook” for those who wish to repeat the feat. Here are his tips.
1. Research and understand applicable state and federal laws regarding firearms purchase, ownership, possession, carry and transport
There are sites like OpenCarry.org, MichiganOpenCarry.org, handgunlaw.us, www.migunowners.org, www.mcrgo.org, etc. that will aid in this effort. Specific state firearm sites and government sites are likely to have this information as well.
2. Review specific “how-to” guides
3. Review applicable police-person interaction information
4. Find like-minded individuals who Open Carry and attend a local gathering like a picnic, OC seminar, trash pickup, coffee meet-up, etc.
This will allow you to Open Carry with others to “get over the hump” as it were, so you can open carry on your own in everyday life. The key here: don’t draw attention to yourself. Just go about your daily routine. You will likely find that most people do not notice and those who do will likely ask questions about it. For those who wish to argue with you about it, simply state that “you carry to provide for your fundamental right of self-protection” and move on.
5. Whenever there is an issue with police interaction, do not argue with them on the street but provide legal information as needed only to protect yourself.
This is the main reason some suggest you carry an audio recorder: to ensure that you have a record of the event for your own protection. Afterwards, do a FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) Request for applicable materials such as 911 recordings, dash-cam videos and audio recordings, police reports, etc.
Use this information, along with applicable law, when meeting with the Police Chief to ensure that the situation does not occur again and that officers are properly trained. Although you can file a formal compliant, it’s best to work with the police for the first incident.
If these efforts fail, it’s time to show up at a City Commission/Council meeting to make them aware of the issue. If the interaction is egregious enough, you can file a formal complaint with the FBI and the State Attorney General as a possible “Color of Law” violation.
6. Whenever there is an issue with a local unit of government, either within ordinances, park rules, or contracts, attempt to work directly with the City Manager and City Attorney to help them understand the issues within the confines of LAW and your concerns.
This may take a while. Be patient. If this effort fails, attempt to contact the Mayor and City Council/Commission Members to resolve the issue. You can press the issue by showing up for City Council/Commission Meetings with other members of a local Open Carry organization and speaking to the issue during the Public Comments time on the agenda.
If that doesn’t work, it’s time to involve the local media outlets to ensure that the public is aware of the issue, to focus their attention on the City Council/Commission resolution. The last measure: file temporary restraining orders and/or injunctions to get the local unit of government into compliance with the LAW.
7. Whenever there is an issue within a private business about your Open Carry, ask to speak with the manager if possible for clarification of store and/or company policy on Firearm Carry and do speak politely and to the point.
If asked to leave, do so immediately as you could be charged with Trespass for not complying.
You can contact the manager/owner/corporate contacts of the business to determine policy, either by email, snail mail, or phone call. The solution you are working towards here is for the business to follow state law as it relates to firearms carry and to ensure that this policy is company-wide.