We've been busy this summer
Pistol-packing picnic taking place in Oxford
Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009
By KAREN WORKMAN
Of The Oakland Press
Click to enlarge
The Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ John Roshek has his firearm secured in a holster as he stands near a picnic pavilion area at Seymour Lake Park in Oxford Township.
People from across the state are expected to gather for a family-friendly picnic at Oxford Township’s Seymour Lake Park on Sunday, Aug. 2.
“It’s a regular family picnic, the only difference is the people there will be armed,” said John Roshek, an Oxford resident who helped organize the picnic.
Roshek is a member of Michigan Open Carry, a nonprofit organization that tries to raise awareness of a Michigan law that allows people to openly carry handguns without a special permit.
“You don’t necessarily have to have a concealed pistol license,” Roshek said. “As long as the pistol is legally registered to you and you’re over the age of 18, you can lawfully open carry a pistol in Michigan.”
He added: “Some restrictions do apply.”
To open carry a handgun means it has to be in plain sight on the person carrying it. Roshek and others at Sunday’s picnic will have their pistols in holsters attached outside their clothes.
Several restrictions, such as places where open carry is not allowed or specific guidelines for traveling with the gun in a vehicle, do apply under the law.
Roshek encourages all people to stop by the picnic, saying it is not limited to the group’s members.
“The more, the merrier,” Roshek said. “Everyone is welcome to attend, whether you’re for or against it, whether you openly carry, concealed carry or don’t even carry a gun.”
Since the purpose of the pistol-packing picnic is to raise awareness of the law, the group will have informational packets available for anyone who wants to learn more.
“We’re trying to get people to understand what your rights are,” Roshek said. “It’s a little known fact that it is legal to openly carry a handgun without a permit.
“Even a lot of municipalities are not aware either.”
Roshek said Oxford Township had an ordinance prohibiting firearms in their parks, but that it is unenforceable because of the state law.
“They have since said they are going to change that to comply with Michigan’s law,” Roshek said.
The potluck-style picnic will be held at a picnic area in the township’s park, near children’s attractions like the new K.L.R. Splashpad and Kid’s Kingdom playground.
“At some of the past events, some members have brought their children, sometimes they don’t,” said Roshek, who doesn’t have children.
Roshek said the event is entirely safe. Alcohol is not allowed at the park and neither is any shooting.
“Nobody even takes their pistol out of their holster,” Roshek said.
About 50 of the 500 members of Michigan Open Carry are expected to attend the picnic, which starts at 1 p.m.
An avid supporter of constitutional rights, Roshek said he respects the opinion of people who don’t support gun ownership because he firmly believes in free speech.
“But whether you’re for or against it, just come out, find out more about it and see for yourself,” Roshek said.
While he understands why some people may have concerns about the picnic, he says there have never been any problems at any of the group’s events, from picnics to roadside cleanups.
“We’re all extremely cautious with the law,” Roshek said. “We’re law-abiding citizens and we’re not out to cause trouble.”
Those planning to attend the picnic are encouraged to bring a dish to pass.
We've been busy this summer