If You Open Carry in Michigan, Expect to be Stopped by Police

A recent ruling from the U.S. District Court of Michigan declared it’s not a violation of one’s constitutional rights for law enforcement officers to stop individuals openly carrying a firearm.

The decision resulted from a lawsuit filed by Johann Deffert, who claimed he was illegally stopped by police on a cold winter day in Grand Rapids in 2013. Deffert said he was falsely detained simply because he was carrying openly, but Michigan courts said differently.

The argument is age-old and can be easily tied into the right to bear arms. Most Second Amendment advocates read the Constitution as permitting Americans to not only own firearms, but carry them, because, well, that’s exactly what it says.

However, many state laws require open carriers to adhere to certain guidelines, like keeping a dry weapon holstered in plain view.

This difference in law and perspective led Officer William Moe to detain Deffert. The reason for the stop? To determine if he was of mentally sound mind. After being schooled by Deffert on Michigan’s open carry laws, the officer let him go.

Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. openly denounced open carry in the state, arguing that those who want to exercise their freedoms are only doing so in an attempt to get attention and are “needlessly harming people.”

“It puts the police in a position where we don’t know what their intent is, so they’re going to approach this person, not realizing that the intent is to hurt somebody,” said Stevenson. “It’s a terrible situation what these people are doing, somebody is going to get hurt.”

Of course, if the ridiculously strict “good cause” criteria needed to attain a concealed carry handgun permit was loosened, most of these encounters would be avoided in the first place.

(This article was as submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Phil July 17, 2017, 5:49 am

    For those who think a portion of the population will be “afraid” of someone with open carry: have you pushed for education and PSAs in your community and state? Education. And familiarity.

  • Bazza56 July 18, 2015, 5:40 am

    People act as though open carry has been taking place forever and that the government is just now coming down on them . The truth is i never saw anyone open carry a firearm as a young man ever except on cops. i do not think open carry is a problem just expect to meet the local police when you do because you scare people. History bares out that a hundred years ago it was recognized that when you came to town you left your gun with the sheriff. We have provisions for carrying a weapon in Michigan it a CPL and the up sides are so much better. You move through crowds effortlessly and with no alarm. You will never meet a cop unless you are in some sort of violation. You have the advantage of surprise in the event you need your weapon. So to me the open carry guy or gal knows he is scaring people and does not care. This is not good for a free people or the 2nd amendment to have this sort of exhibitionism going on.

  • Ian June 19, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I just wanted to note (as a MI CPL holder) that the restrictions are not that strict. Since the law was changed (2003?), MI is a shall issue state and requires no “good cause”. If you’re over 21, clean record, do your class and pay your fee, you will be issued a license to carry.

    That being said, I believe in open carry with sense. Holstered sidearm in view- probably not an issue. Shouldered “scary looking assault rifle” and the sheople are going to freak. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t understand gun culture or even basic 2A rights. There’s no need to give them a reason to rally to take away more of your rights.

  • DRAINO June 19, 2015, 9:09 am

    Stopping someone and talking to them to get an idea of their mental state is easy enough and simple enough. Even a subtle simple greeting can tell a lot about a persons demeanor. No, you can’t tell everything but you can get an idea if further conversation is necessary to attain further information. But stopping and detaining people in handcuffs, on the ground, for no other reason than OC has got to be an infringement of rights. Hmm, maybe the crime rate in Michigan is under control so much to the point that they have to resort to harassing innocent law abiding citizens to get any action. What a Utopian society it must be there. Makes me want to go visit and spend my tourist $$ there….NOT! Put it on the list with NY, CA, IL, AND D.C….to name a few….My No-tourist/No-money list. Say what you want….I do my best to make sure they get no money from me. This type of harassment is out of control, however.

  • George June 18, 2015, 11:06 am

    I’m for the Constitution. I’m for open carry. I’m also for common sense too. If you walk into Taco Bell with a holstered sidearm, people are not going to get too alarmed, as that isn’t outside the norm of what they see everyday with police and such. Of course, there will always be a Henny Penny around that will though. But if you walk in carrying an AK-47, you are going to freak people out, as that IS outside the norm. There have been mass shooting and people are afraid. Use common sense is all I’m saying. If you want people to get on your side of an argument, don’t scare the crap out of them just because you can. Open carry using common sense!

    • Dan June 19, 2015, 12:47 pm

      If you are referring to individuals doing this, say, from Texas – expect to see less of this 🙂 Note that one of the main reasons these people did that in Texas, is because that was their only choice.

      Now, Texas has passed open carry of sidearms! Open carrying these rifles actually led to a law in their favor, and that marks progress for us. Remember that 😉

    • Dan June 19, 2015, 1:33 pm

      If you are referring to individuals doing this, say, from Texas – expect to see less of open carrying rifles. Note that one of the main reasons these people did that in Texas, is because that was their only choice, as open carry of handguns was unlawful.

      Now, Texas has passed open carry of sidearms! Open carrying these rifles actually led to change to allow Texas open carry! remember that 🙂

      (source: http://www.ammoland.com/2015/06/governor-abbott-signs-house-bill-910-texas-open-carry-bill/#axzz3dWwxJCyU)

    • Dave July 20, 2015, 9:58 am

      The citizen was stopped so that the officer could determine if the citizen was mentally competent? My question here is, how is the officer qualified to determine mental competence?? Does he have a degree in psychology? Could his testimony of mental competence be validated in a court of law?? I doubt it. So, then, the officer’s stop WAS frivolous and without merit because the officer had no qualification to make the determination!!

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