Man Open Carries Pistol to Soccer Game, Asked to Leave

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MUSKEGON County, Mich. — A soccer match between Western Michigan Christian and Freedom Christian was called off, Thursday evening.

The coach for Norton Shore’s Western Michigan Christian explained to FOX 17 why he ended the game. Coach David Hulings said a man in the crowd carrying a pistol was the reason.

About five minutes into the second half, Hudsonville’s Freedom Christian had a two point lead on WMC which remained scoreless.

Hulings said, “One of my assistant coaches came up and asked if it was legal to carry a gun on the field, on the soccer field.”

He said the assistant coach pointed out a spectator with a gun.

Hulings said he told the assistant coach, “Well, just go ask him to leave.”

“As the assistant coach went over to talk to him I could observe that he was pretty agitated about being asked to leave,” Hulings described.

Hulings said the man left for a moment.

“I turned around maybe four, five minutes later and there was the guy coming in. This time his holster was empty, and I didn’t know what that meant,” Hulings said.

“I didn’t know if he left with the gun, if he had the gun, where it was at,” Hulings explained.

“So at that point I thought, I’m going to err on the side of caution,” he added.

Hulings went to the visiting coach to forfeit the game, and both teams left the field. Prior to this, the police had also been called.

Was the man open carrying within his rights?

FOX 17 spoke with Phillip Hofmeister. He’s the president of Michigan Open Carry. Hofmeister said regardless of anyone’s right to bear arms, the school was within its legal right to ask the man to leave.

Hofmeister noted that it’s private property; it’s a private school. He said Michigan’s trespassing law is most relevant here. (He cited MCL 750.552.)

Coach Hulings believes there may have been a political motive behind the incident. Hulings doesn’t dispute that the man had a right to open carry.

“I do believe… think they were trying to make a statement. They had a video camera… or videotaping the whole thing,” Hulings said.

“I think he was grandstanding a little bit, but that was my interpretation. That was not my concern. My only concern was we asked someone to leave the field who got upset. He came back. I thought, there’s a potential here for problems. Let’s not, let’s not do anything with it,” he said.

Freedom Christian said both schools are “working closely to maintain a healthy and God honoring relationship.”

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14 comments

  • Scherzerfan

    Really, you have to bring an extenstion of your manhood to a soccer game? Why not show some real nads and play the game if you need to prove something.

    • Phodogruffer

      You Do understand that the right to bear arms is a significant right brought to every citizen by the Constitution of the United States, right?

      We, and you, don't pick and choose which rights we are allowed to have based on how someone feels, right?

      If that is the case, your response nauseates me, so you're going to pay for my hospital visit, right? If not, then shut up and get out of America.

    • Ralph

      Really, civil rights are an "extension of manhood" ?
      Tell that to screaming "activists" at a occupy -something rally and see how it goes.

  • ivan

    This situation illustrates what’s wrong in this country. Every place you go has their policies and prejudices and were all supposed to know every single one of them because ignorance is no excuse.

    The people who stopped this game after the man put the gun away and returned to the game should grow up. You asked he complied what was the big deal. These folks are paranoid for no reason. This is the collectivist mindest on full display.

    Why did they punish the teams because of their own prejudices? This country is filled with grown a$$ children.

    • Scherzerfan

      Where in my comment did it say I agreed with stopping the game. As for grown a$$ children, it is people like you that assume the meaning of a comment. I made myself clear.

      • Phodogruffer

        You made yourself clear, and obvioiusly wrong. You should move to Cuba or China, where the governments no longer have a healthy respect for the people, because the people have been disarmed.

  • Ralph

    As a ardent supporter of the second amendment, LAWFUL gun owner and concealed carry permit holder, I have to say this guy used poor judgment.

    Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you always SHOULD.
    Yeah it's his civil right but he should pick his battles more carefully.
    Did he help or harm the cause of freedom ?

    • Scherzerfan

      And where in my comment did I say that I don't believe in the right to bear arms? I am simply stating that it is a shame that in a "civil" society people feel a need to walk around with guns 24/7 even at such family friendly events as a soccer game.
      I hope knowing how to read is necessary to own a CCW.

      • ivan

        What is shameful is treating someone like a criminal because you have a preconcieved notion of what someone who open carrys is. No one sees a guy like this and thinks liberal Democrat. This isn’t about safety its about politics.

  • Jake

    Security consultants agree that public events where crowds gather are becoming increasing risks for terrorist acts. There are plenty of documented cases of CCW men and women who have STOPPED deranged idiots from carrying out further destruction at events. In this case it sounds like people reacted out of fear and judgement over an opposing team parent. By the way, I'm also a former soccer coach, and an active soccer referee with 20 years experience. I have worked plenty of private / Christian school soccer games as well.