Michigan Open Carry Laws: Right or Risk?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Concerns over gun violence and the debate over gun control is heating up in West Michigan.

Jim White, a Grand Rapids City Commissioner, read a statement at Tuesday’s city commission meeting regarding ‘open carry’ in Grand Rapids and why he thinks the state should let local municipalities decide the rules for themselves. (Read his full statement)

This comes after statements made during public comment disagreeing with the mayor working to ban guns from public meetings.

Grand Rapids Pastor Jerry Bishop supports tightening the open carry law; Gina Wesseldyke from Well Armed Women disagrees.

They both have different ideas of how gun violence played a role in the recent gun violence in Grand Rapids.

“If you have more people legally carrying a gun, there’s not going to be as much crime,” Wesseldyke said.  “It is a crime deterrent.”

Pastor Bishop says, “I don’t think that most people who are going to protect themselves are going to brandish a side arm.  Most people who are brandishing a side arm have societal issues within themselves.”

It’s personal experience that shapes their views on gun control and open carry.

Pastor Bishop thinks opinions would change as soon as someone experienced the shooting of someone close to them.  But, Wesseldyke says many women in her club have experienced shootings in their families.

What both Pastor Bishop and Wesseldyke do agree on is that all guns, whether they are legal, illegal openly carried or concealed are typically lumped together when it comes time for a debate.

“It’s happening far too often and we’re living so reckless that we don’t even have the compassion to say we need to do something about these weapons,” Pastor Bishops said.

“I’m sorry just because Jo Blow on the street that’s selling drugs has a gun that’s not a reason to lump everything all together because that guy got the gun illegally,” Wesseldyke said.

There is an ordinance in Grand Rapids that makes it illegal to openly carry, but it is not enforced because of a state law that allows it.

Read James White’s full statement about the Open Carry Law.

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  • Open Carry..

    How about Pastor Bishop and I walk the streets of GR, (each on a different street). I will open carry, and he can hide behind his philosophy that we, the people that open carry " have societal issues within ourselves" and his handy Bible, and pray to God he is not robbed or shot, or scream like a baby for someone with a gun will come to his aide. You sir, are a Mental Midget. We live in a society where way to many criminals and mentally ill walk the streets. If someone chooses to do harm, they will and do it with anything they can get their hands on. A dark heart needs only an object to kill with. Notice I said object because it takes human hands to make a car move, a knife slice, a rope to strangle, a gun to fire, a bat to swing. To those who are anti gun, you need a grip on reality and realize everyday people in this country are murdered by means other than a firearm. You believe everything the media reports rather than doing your own research. Get educated on the facts and stop being lazy and remember these words "You mock what you don't understand" We don't tell you to carry anything for protection because it's your right. We choose to carry for our protection because it's our right. People have died fighting for rights, the very rights you enjoy and the right to bear arms is something we enjoy.

  • DuckAndCover

    The RIGHT to bear arms has been around since the beginning of America, nothing new.

    The gangstas doing the murders aren't open carrying their illegal and stolen guns..
    Only lawful gun owns can carry their weapons.
    I'm getting tired of anti-gun zealots using street crime and hoods as an excuse to VIOLATE my civil rights.
    If you really "care" about refusing crime, stop being so politically correct and start calling it what it is, and start blaming those who are really responsible.

    Anyone who claims to "care" about street crime and then attacks the second amendment is just falsely using the claim they "care" to push their anti-gun agenda.

    Read the paper on any given weekend day and you'll see who is doing the killing, and it isn't lawful gun owners.

  • Carry This

    "Most people who are brandishing a side arm have societal issues within themselves.”
    Really ? it sounds to me as if YOU have an issue, you're afraid to place the blame for street violence were it belongs.
    Its safer for you to verbally attack lawful gun owners than it is hoodlums and gangsters.

    It's a well known fact that states/cities with constitutional gun laws have the lowest rates. Check the FBI website.
    Ask Chicago how their un-constitutional gun laws are working…

  • Carry This

    If the anti-gun/anti-freedom lobby really cared about reducing violent crime they would focus on the people committing the crimes. But they don't. Instead they focus on law abiding gun owners, the NRA and any pro gun organisation.
    They attempt to repeal the second amendment which would only effect the lawful gun owner, doing nothing that would effect the criminals. The anti-gun lobby in effect empowers the criminals while impeding on the rights of lawful gun owners.
    The only inconvenience to criminals by banning lawful guns would result in the hoodlums not being able to steal guns from the lawful gun owners.

    Its the civil right, the birth right, of every american to keep and bear arms granted by the second amendment to the constitution.
    Every america has the right to defend them self and their families. when you become a felon you lose those rights, and those are the people committing the violence, not the lawful citizen.

    As recent as 5 years ago, a victim was required by law to run away, run away and leave your family unprotected, before you were legally able to defend yourself or family.
    The victim was required to run away!
    Stand your ground laws were passed to restore common sense to self protection laws after the anti-gun lobby defiled those laws to the point of being ridicules. prior to stand your ground the victim had a duty to retreat. the victim was also liable to be sued by the attacker if the victim defended them self. And the family of the criminal could sue the victim if the victim defended themselves.
    The same can be said about the castle doctrine, prior to the castle law, a home invader had more rights than his victims. find a stranger in your home and defend yourself and you could sued by the attacker or hid family in the form of litigation.
    Both laws, stand your ground and the castle doctrine protect you and your family from the criminal or his family. Now thanks to these laws that were created to restore basic common sense to a system that had been turned inside out by anti-gun, anti freedom groups who with their anti gun agenda had also empowered the criminal.
    Roughly 12% of the nations population commits between 80 and 90% of the nations violent crime ( those facts are available from the FBI website on violent crime statistics.
    And those who commit these crimes are not the intended target of gun control, lawful gun owning citizens are the target of so called "gun control", the criminals are left unaffected and even empowered.
    So called "gun control" under the disguise of reducing crime will only effect the lawful gun owner, its nothing more than cloaked attempt to ban guns from the lawful owner.
    No effort is being made what so ever to disarm the thugs/criminals, nothing.

  • Judy Turnbow

    The irony here is, we are told that republicans are "waging a war on women", when in fact it's the anti-gun lobby that wishes to make women defenseless if faced with an attacker.

    An armed society is a polite society. History has proven this to be factual.
    The wild west was never the wild west. In each case where a state has resorted the rights of lawfil gun owners the violent crime rate has drooped.
    As an example of failed gun control, I give you Chicago, the most intrusive anti-gun laws in the nation, and they have the nations highest violent crime rate to prove it.

  • SafewithFirearms

    Pastor Bishop says, “I don’t think that most people who are going to protect themselves are going to brandish a side arm. Most people who are brandishing a side arm have societal issues within themselves.”

    Well, Pastor Bishop – then according to this statement, you agree that 'openly carrying' a firearm isn't an issue. Sure, most people that 'BRANDISH*' a sidearm, probably do have societal issues. So, feel free to go after those that are BRANDISHING* their firearms. But, leave the civilians that are legally and safely carrying their sidearms in their holsters, alone to carry on with their business.

    *Brandish – wave or flourish (something, esp. a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement.

    *Brandishing means to "display in a threatening manner."

    Sir – if you are threatened by an inanimate object that is strapped to an individuals side, then you might have some societal issues.

  • Will

    I live in Ypsilanti and the only ones here that are posing any risk are felons convicted of illegal possession of firearms. Recently one prior was convicted, released then shot a guy, was finally caught and received five years. To boot: the city counsel wants to rid STG laws and the local police force staff was reduced by 9%. Go figure.

  • John

    The only people who need fear an armed lawful citizen are criminals or those who seek to impose their will on others through violence.

  • K-Dude

    I urge anyone who feels people who posses and legally carry firearms are dangerous to attend a gun show. You will never meet a more friendly and polite group of people anywhere, I GUARANTEE IT!!! An armed society is a polite society..

  • Adam Cook

    Hey Bishop:

    wave or flourish (something, esp. a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement.
    synonyms:flourish, wave, shake, wield; More