Open Carry: Is it OK at a public high school concert?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Open Carry
Open Carry at a Burger King in Eagle Colorado

OPEN CARRY, the act of carrying a firearm in plain sight in public, is permitted in more than half of the 50 states and is a matter of legal dispute in many others. Groups promoting and opposed to open carry are sharing photos of gun sightings on many web sites, including Wikimedia Commons. This photo of a man filling his cup at a Colorado Burger King was shared on that site by DDriver for public use.

About ten days ago, a gun-rights activist attended the Chorale Cavalcade concert at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI, openly carrying a pistol. The incident created quite a stir.

Police were called and squad cars showed up, according to press accounts, but the man was permitted to watch the concert because his actions were legal under Michigan law. Even if legal, should a member of the general public be allowed to carry a pistol into a public school event?

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution grants the right for private individuals to keep and bear arms. The Michigan state Constitution says, “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”

In Michigan, if you have a valid concealed carry permit, you can’t bring a concealed weapon into a designated pistol-free zone like a school—but you can openly carry it. If you don’t have a concealed carry permit, you can’t openly carry a pistol in a weapon-free zone, even though open carry is generally permitted in the state.

The logic of open carry in a weapon-free zone by a holder of a concealed weapon permit takes a few moments to grasp. Some have called it a loophole in the law. Others, however, maintain that it’s an example of our constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.

How would you feel if you were at the Chorale Cavalcade concert?

Do you support or oppose open carry by concealed permit holders at a school event open to the public?

Care to read more? This incident in Ann Arbor wasn’t the only case of a gun owner, while openly carrying a firearm, touching off controversy at a public school in Michigan. Detroit Free Press staff writer Bill Laitner reported on both the Ann Arbor case and a second case in Madison Heights involving a man with a rifle.

Tomorrow—What are the four reasons many gun-rights activists promote open carry?

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