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. Read more