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Thread: My First Open Carry Experience

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    Let me start off by saying that I have a lot of respect for you guys who are practicing open carry. I have been carrying concealed for a while and I have learned a lot from the people on this board in regards to the respectful practice of a very important right. I decided tonight that I would open carry for the first time and while the results could have been much worse, they were not positive.
    I have been in the market to purchase a couple of new revolvers and I called up to the Silver Bullet in Grand Rapids to see if they had the models I was interested in. Usually they have decent service and they have guns in stock. I was in luck and they did have what I was looking for. I decided that this would be as good a time as any to try open carry for the first time.
    I headed over to the place after work with my 642 in my blackhawk holster and they had the guns I had called about all ready for me. I filled out the paperwork, gave the salesman my license and CPL and he suggested I have a look around the store because the paperwork would take a while to fill out. While I was milling about another salesman came over to me and told me that Open Carry was not allowed and I either had to conceal it or lock it in my car. I said "Oh, so only your employees are allowed to open carry?" He said "Yes, only employees." I went to the counter, told the salesman that I had just been kicked out for open carry and that he should cancel the paperwork. He said he was sorry, and I left.
    When I got back outside I realized they still had my credit card number (because I had placed a hold on the guns over the phone) so I decided to go back in and get that paper with my card number on it. I thankfully still had my pocket holser in my vehicle, so I converted to pocket carry and went back in with my blackhawk empty. When I walked back in the door 5 of the salesmen were gatherered around the counter talking about me (I know this because one of them said "there he is" and pointed at me). I asked for my paper and the salesman who was helping me earlier said something to the effect that I could now buy those guns that I wasn't carrying mine. I respectfully told him "I'd rather not give you my money if it's all the same to you." As he was handing me my credit card sheet I told him that I had previously bought all my guns from the Silver Bullet and would probably not be back. I guess they didn't want my $1500+.
    I have never been kicked out of any place before, and it was very humiliating and embarrasing.
    I then had dinner at the Trends Cafe in Caledonia with my 642 back in the blackhawk and no one seemed to notice or care.

    So, the tally for the two businesses I visited while open carrying:
    Gun store: Kicked out, purchase canceled
    Family Resturant: Excelent food and service, no one seems to notice or care, big tip.

    So, I guess I just have a few quesitons:
    1) Is there a ligitimate reason to not allow open carry at a gun store, and if so, what is it and why are the employees exempt?
    2) Is this normal, are most (supposedly) pro-gun people anti-OC?
    3) Anyone know of a FFL in SW Michigan who doesn't have a problem with OC? I'm still in the market for those revolvers.

    Edit:
    Please see the resolution of this issue
    Click Here for Resoultion

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    The gun store being private property can make any rules they like. If they want only employees to OC then that is the way it will be.

    Not ragging on you, just FYI.... We already have a thread for OC stories located here http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum30/11799.html

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    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    While perhaps earlier you felt humiliated and embarrassed, hold your head up high because I'm proud of you for not opening your wallet to a bunch of hypocrites.

    Answers:

    1)There's no legitimate reason for any business to prohibit a law-abiding customer from lawfully exercising open carry.

    2)My observations have been thatsome, not most, gun owners are anti-OC. I call them "gun owners", though, and not "pro-gun people." You can't be pro-gun and against anylegal firearm or ethical mode of carrying it.

    3)I'll have to defer to others; I have no experience to share.
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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    Regular Member dougwg's Avatar
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    Awesome job!

    I'm very glad you stood up to them and told them no gun no money!

    If I were you I would call and set up a meeting with the OWNER. Money talks and BS employees walk.

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    warlockmatized wrote:
    The gun store being private property can make any rules they like. If they want only employees to OC then that is the way it will be.

    Not ragging on you, just FYI.... We already have a thread for OC stories located here http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/forum30/11799.html
    I understand and accept that on private property people can set their own rules. If they say no OC for customers, just for employees, and their reason is "Because I feel like it." that's fine with me, that's their prerogative. I guess I was just asking if there was a tactical or logical reason to do so, or just an emotional one.
    At first blush, I tend to agree with DanM that there's no legitimate (i.e. non-emotional) reason to ban OC in a gun store.

    I considered adding my story to the open carry experiences thread, but I was more interested in generating discussion about my questions and didn't want to hijack the experiences thread. I will probably cross post in the experiences thread after I have a talk with the owner (as per dougwg's suggestion) and we fully resolve this issue. My fiancee suggested I write them a letter, but I think I'll try to schedule a meeting. I do better in face to face discussions anyway.
    If the resolution is nothing more than the owner telling me that's the way it is because he likes it that way (which I suspect it probably will be) then that's fine, and that will close the issue for me.

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    There is a gun store in Sanford ,Mi (near Midland) called Joe Gun Open carry isno problem Give them a call 989-687-4866

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    Regular Member JeffSayers's Avatar
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    Devil's advocate here,

    Since open carry provides a faster draw, by reserving that speed only for themselves wouldn't that put the shop owners in an advantageous position to defend their stores against a threat?
    United we STAND!

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    I'm glad I found this out before I tried the same. I would have been shopping for an ITW holster for my commander style 1911.

    I just started competing in IDPA/USPSA and was in the market to have a little gunsmiths service done at Silver Bullet but if they have gun control in the store then I want no part of them. Not only will they be losing OC?

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    lcamino1984 wrote:
    ...

    So, I guess I just have a few quesitons:
    1) Is there a ligitimate reason to not allow open carry at a gun store, and if so, what is it and why are the employees exempt?
    2) Is this normal, are most (supposedly) pro-gun people anti-OC?
    3) Anyone know of a FFL in SW Michigan who doesn't have a problem with OC? I'm still in the market for those revolvers.
    First, people should keep in mind that Silver Bullet recently had a woman commit suicide in their firing range. While that should not have any bearing on their OC policy, it is something that should be noted IMHO.

    Now, onto your questions.

    1) While I don't personally think there is a legitimate reason to bar OC, it really doesn't matter since I am not the owner. They can do as they wish with their store. It's a subjective thing. Like saying that there is a legitimate need to own a gun.

    2) Many gun owners are anti-OC. I'm with Dan on this. Just because they own guns, doesn't mean they are pro-gun. It just means they are in support of themselves owning guns.

    3) Yes, Rylee's Ace Hardware (on Michigan and Fuller) is a good gun shop, and they do allow OC. Ask for Greg (you might even call ahead), and tell him that ghostrider sent you. He may not have what your looking for, but they are happy to order it for you. He has even handed out Venator's MOC info packet in the store. They deserve our business, and He'll be happy to get the guns you asked for. I don't know if he'll match prices, but it's worth a try. Depending on what you get, his prices may even be less than SB's.



    Something else.

    You should sign up over at Glocktalk. They have a "OC Experiences" thread over there, and Silver Bullet gets good publicity in GT's Michigan section. This experience should be posted there. I'd do it myself, but it wasn't my experience.

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    Bob's in Hastings used to have this policy about no CCW unless you are law enforcement. Enough complaints, and now CCW is cool with them.

    Silver Bullet just needs to be made to see the error of their ways. Write the letter, and spread your experience to anyone who will listen.

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    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    JeffSayers wrote:
    Devil's advocate here,

    Since open carry provides a faster draw, by reserving that speed only for themselves wouldn't that put the shop owners in an advantageous position to defend their stores against a threat?
    The error in such a shop owner'sview is that itassumes each customer poses, individually, a threat level requiring them to bedisarmed. I would point out to the ownerthat, without cause,such an assumption about individuals isn't justified.Further, I wouldpress for an answer as to,if that is theirview ofcustomers, why anyone in their right mindwouldsell guns topeople they don't trust tobe responsible with them?
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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    If you are willing to let others protect you, then why carry at all?
    If it is faster access, why should you be forced to hope that the store employees
    can shoot fast and straight if a threat developes.
    Good response to withhold money, hope you find the pieces elsewhere.

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    Forgot to mention on Number 3.

    Rylyee's is having a sale on November 15 for the Ace Hardware Rewards Card members. 20% off anything that fits in your shopping bag. They also have a 20% sale ever year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.Guns are usually included in the sale, but with some restrictions. Call ahead to find out pricing and availability. It's a first come first serve, so there is usually a line.

    DanM wrote:
    JeffSayers wrote:
    Devil's advocate here,

    Since open carry provides a faster draw, by reserving that speed only for themselves wouldn't that put the shop owners in an advantageous position to defend their stores against a threat?
    The error in such a shop owner'sview is that itassumes each customer poses, individually, a threat level requiring them to bedisarmed. I would point out to the ownerthat, without cause,such an assumption about individuals isn't justified.Further, I wouldpress for an answer as to,if that is theirview ofcustomers, why anyone in their right mindwouldsell guns topeople they don't trust tobe responsible with them?
    good point

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    custom.45acp wrote:
    I'm glad I found this out before I tried the same. I would have been shopping for an ITW holster for my commander style 1911.

    I just started competing in IDPA/USPSA and was in the market to have a little gunsmiths service done at Silver Bullet but if they have gun control in the store then I want no part of them. Not only will they be losing OC?
    It's great you won't shop there, but more effective to also call and tell them they lost your business because of the OC policy. If enough people call and tell them they lost X amount of $ then maybe they will change their minds.
    An Amazon best seller "MY PARENTS OPEN CARRY" http://www.myparentsopencarry.com/

    *The information contained above is not meant to be legal advice, but is solely intended as a starting point for further research. These are my opinions, if you have further questions it is advisable to seek out an attorney that is well versed in firearm law.

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    I actually have an update with some positive news. One of the store owners called me today and left a message on my home phone. He apologized and explained it was a newer employee that had asked me to leave. He said that employee asked another employee who was not familiar with Silver Bullet's policies and had been mistakenly informed that OC was not allowed. He said that he would be having a meeting to inform the employees of what he thought was obvious, Silver Bullet is a gun shop, and OC is allowed. I'm going to have a face to face with him sometime later this week, but for now, I am encouraged.
    I still feel embarrased for being kicked out, but I'm willing accept that it could have been an honest mistake. I'm not quite to the point of giving them my business again, but I'm willing to talk it over.

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    If it is as simple as that, I am sure they will make it right. Mr VanderWoude seems like a nice enough fellow.

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    lcamino1984 wrote:
    I actually have an update with some positive news. One of the store owners called me today and left a message on my home phone. He apologized and explained it was a newer employee that had asked me to leave. He said that employee asked another employee who was not familiar with Silver Bullet's policies and had been mistakenly informed that OC was not allowed. He said that he would be having a meeting to inform the employees of what he thought was obvious, Silver Bullet is a gun shop, and OC is allowed. I'm going to have a face to face with him sometime later this week, but for now, I am encouraged.
    I still feel embarrased for being kicked out, but I'm willing accept that it could have been an honest mistake. I'm not quite to the point of giving them my business again, but I'm willing to talk it over.
    It was just an employee that kicked you out? Any idea if a manager/owner was around? I don't know how big of a shop it is, so there may not be any managers or anything, but I would have wanted to talk to somebody with the authority to kick me out.

    Either way, you handled it very well IMO, and believe me, I know how it is to feel a bit embarrassed about being kicked out of a place. Try it in the middle of dinner with your girl.:P

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    I just can't understand why a gun store would not allow OC. I can see stores being apprehensive, but not ones that sell guns. It isn't like they are doing it to protect the customers, it's a gun store!! And when it comes down to it, there is only a piece of fabric between concealed, which is probably allowed,& OC.

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    MrsRuger45 wrote:
    I just can't understand why a gun store would not allow OC. I can see stores being apprehensive, but not ones that sell guns. It isn't like they are doing it to protect the customers, it's a gun store!! And when it comes down to it, there is only a piece of fabric between concealed, which is probably allowed,& OC.
    Exactly, but remember, while gun shop owners are usually some of the most "pro-gun" people, we've seen a lot of resistance from "pro-gun"/anti-OCer's.

    On the other hand, I can see the issue with some OCing customers wanting to "show" their gun. That's why I see a lot of "do not unholster your firearm" signs.

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    SQLtables wrote:
    MrsRuger45 wrote:
    I just can't understand why a gun store would not allow OC. I can see stores being apprehensive, but not ones that sell guns. It isn't like they are doing it to protect the customers, it's a gun store!! And when it comes down to it, there is only a piece of fabric between concealed, which is probably allowed,& OC.
    Exactly, but remember, while gun shop owners are usually some of the most "pro-gun" people, we've seen a lot of resistance from "pro-gun"/anti-OCer's.

    On the other hand, I can see the issue with some OCing customers wanting to "show" their gun. That's why I see a lot of "do not unholster your firearm" signs.
    Thats what some are afraid of

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    dougwg wrote:
    SQLtables wrote:
    MrsRuger45 wrote:
    I just can't understand why a gun store would not allow OC. I can see stores being apprehensive, but not ones that sell guns. It isn't like they are doing it to protect the customers, it's a gun store!! And when it comes down to it, there is only a piece of fabric between concealed, which is probably allowed,& OC.
    Exactly, but remember, while gun shop owners are usually some of the most "pro-gun" people, we've seen a lot of resistance from "pro-gun"/anti-OCer's.

    On the other hand, I can see the issue with some OCing customers wanting to "show" their gun. That's why I see a lot of "do not unholster your firearm" signs.
    Thats what some are afraid of
    And I think there may be some validity to that, but I don't think it should be more of a concern for OC than CC... I don't know though, I just don't see it happen when I'm in the gun store.

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    Regular Member JeffSayers's Avatar
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    DanM wrote:
    JeffSayers wrote:
    Devil's advocate here,

    Since open carry provides a faster draw, by reserving that speed only for themselves wouldn't that put the shop owners in an advantageous position to defend their stores against a threat?
    The error in such a shop owner'sview is that itassumes each customer poses, individually, a threat level requiring them to bedisarmed. I would point out to the ownerthat, without cause,such an assumption about individuals isn't justified.Further, I wouldpress for an answer as to,if that is theirview ofcustomers, why anyone in their right mindwouldsell guns topeople they don't trust tobe responsible with them?
    I would say that each customer individually does have the capacity to pose a serious threat; be it with a semi-auto pistol openly carried or a pocket knife or even just their bare hands. In addition, such a store does hold a lot of spoils making the possibility of an attack occurring that much more possible. And remember also, they are not necessarily making their customers go unarmed either. They are merely maintaining a tactical advantage.

    I cannot accept the thought that this policy is solely based on a lack of trust of the customer either. Remember that the wolves and the sheepdogs look alike. With my life on the line, I am going to consider someone to be a wolf until I know otherwise. One bad apple spoils the bunch.

    United we STAND!

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    I was poised to remove myself from Silver Bullet's mailing list and break all my ties with that shop when I read lcamino's first post. Fortunately I took the time to read all of the posts to date in this thread.
    I have been in Silver Bullet shopping for firearms. I WAS considering a purchase. I will definitely delay that purchase pending a positive outcome of lcamino's ongoing dialogue with Silver Bullet mgt.

    edit for typos

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    I, for one, will cut them a little slack. Gun store clerks, when robbed, are probably the most likely to be killed of any store type business. How they feel most comfortable setting up their security strategy deserves scrutiny, but I could manage to forgive them for forbiding OC. They may be wrong, and my opinion is that they are, because in all likelyhood a robber would just surprise them and start shooting, but they DO fear for their lives, and they do what they can to attempt to protect themselves.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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    Regular Member DanM's Avatar
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    JeffSayers wrote:
    I would say that each customer individually does have the capacity to pose a serious threat; be it with a semi-auto pistol openly carried or a pocket knife or even just their bare hands.
    I agree. However,being prepared for others' capacity to attack is quite different from assuming that others'likelihood to attack is high enough to warrant restricting OC or CC. I carry because others do have a capacity to attack me, however I wouldn'tassume that everyone who comes into my home or my shop has a likelihood to attack me warranting me to restrict their OC or CC. I will reserve that right on a case by case basis, but it wouldn't be a blanket policy. That is the error of the hypothetical shop owners in question who blanket restrict formsof carry, even if it's just OC.

    In addition, such a store does hold a lot of spoils making the possibility of an attack occurring that much more possible.
    What does reality sayabout the likelihood of that possibility? My sense of all the crime news I keep up on tells me that BG's hit soft targetsat a FAR GREATER rate than hard targets like gun stores. I can't remember the last time I heard of a successful armed robbery of a gun-store, but I can do a news search and pull up dozens of non-gun store armed robberies that happened last week.

    And remember also, they are not necessarily making their customers go unarmed either. They are merely maintaining a tactical advantage.
    They certainly are disarming people who have no other option than OC.
    I cannot accept the thought that this policy is solely based on a lack of trust of the customer either. Remember that the wolves and the sheepdogs look alike. With my life on the line, I am going to consider someone to be a wolf until I know otherwise. One bad apple spoils the bunch.
    Any blanket anti-gun policy implies some blanket lack of trust of people. Wolves and sheepdogs look alike but they don't act alike . . . exercise SA (situational awareness) and don't disarmthe sheepdogs, or reduce their OC advantage,in trying tomaintain an advantage over the wolves. It won't work anyway . . . if the wolves intend to harm or rob you,they will walk right past your anti-OC signs anyway . . . CORRECT???

    BTW, thanks for playing devil's advocate, Jeff!
    "The principle of self-defense, even involving weapons and bloodshed, has never been condemned, even by Gandhi . . ."--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

    “He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.”--M. K. Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." --M. K. Gandhi

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