Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The rise of the Open Carry of firearms

I caught this in the Argus today. Open Carry made the news today.

From the Argus

An Ohio man was ordered at gunpoint to lie on the ground in July after someone called 911 to report that he was walking down the street with a handgun, which was holstered. One of the responding officers told him, "You cannot just walk down the street with a weapon."

The Constitution says otherwise.

"If one chooses to carry a weapon in Michigan, one can do so without a license," Brian Jeffs, president of Michigan Open Carry Inc., said. "There's no law that says it's illegal."

Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse agreed, saying, "You're granted the right through the Constitution."

Michigan Open Carry, a nonprofit organization that promotes the lawful carrying of a handgun, recently participated in a luncheon sponsored by the Christian motorcycle club In God We Trust M/C in the hopes of educating the public about openly carrying handguns. It's a movement that has grown nationwide since 2004, Jeffs said.

However, there are numerous incidents — some of which have led to lawsuits — in which police officers and the general public misunderstand or just plain don't know about the right to carry a weapon openly.

Any law-abiding citizen of Michigan who can legally possess a firearm may openly carry that firearm in a holster in all places not explicitly exempt by law without a concealed pistol license. Those exempt places — where weapons cannot be carried — include banks, churches, courts, theaters, sports arenas, day-care centers, hospitals and establishments under the Liquor Control Act, which would include bars and stores that sell alcohol.

A person may not, however, brandish the weapon. A Michigan attorney general opinion from 2002 states that to brandish is to "waive or flourish menacingly" or "to display ostentatiously." A person also may not openly carry a weapon in a vehicle unless that individual has a concealed pistol license.

Personally, I don't care to participate in open carry, although I understand it. I don't want the attention on me. I prefer concealed carry. I can understand why someone would open carry. It does not have the same restrictions as concealed carry.

County GOP chair and Undersheriff Mike Murphy's comments here made the paper.

Murphy said as an officer he has no problem with individuals exercising their right to openly carry a gun. However, he believes doing so should be a concern for everyone in the community.

"Everyone should be concerned for reasons such as, you don't know if they are mental or have ill intent," he explained.

Murph and I briefly discussed this issue before. He's supports concealed carry, but isn't a fan of open carry. That aside, everyone who buys a firearm from a dealer has to go through the background check. All pistol buyers also need to get registration. He knows that. I think the big reason is that his department gets a few calls over it, and that becomes a hassle. There aren't calls over concealed carry. To use an old CPL saying, concealed means concealed.

The calls to the police over this are from ignorance and uninformed citizens. That's expected. Most people don't know that open carry is legal. Many cops don't know it is legal. Many attorneys don't know that it is legal. Even I did not know until last year that it was legal. I thought it was considered brandishing. It's not, and an AG opinion clarified that.

I wrote about Open Carry last year. The open carry movement has come a long way since that time with their activism. That's not bad. Right now, open carry does not look like it will be a test case in court. That's a good thing.

However while I support it as a right, you won't see me open carry. I don't like drawing attention to myself, especially if I'm armed. I don't want the bad guys to know I'm armed. I don't have a problem with those who do open carry. I assume, as I do of most people until proven otherwise, that those who open carry are law abiding citizens. That's their decision, and I support that.

1 comment:

Hubert said...

I encourage everyone to read the open carry argument by "mainsail."

The Open Carry Argument

Very well written statement.