Author Topic: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013  (Read 6673 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline bigt8261

  • MOC President
  • MOC Board Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1482
    • Michigan Open Carry, Inc
  • First Name (Displayed): Tom
OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« on: March 05, 2013, 11:23:17 PM »
Over the past so many months I have been attending Grand Rapids City Commission meetings urging them to amend their firearm ordinance to comply with State law. A couple times a year, the City will hold a commission meeting somewhere in the city as opposed to City Hall. Tonight's meeting was held in the Gym of Congress Elementary School. Up to now I have carried to every meeting. Sometimes openly, sometimes concealed, and after thinking it over for a while, I decided not to break that trend. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but I didn't want to go defenseless just to make someone else feel better.

I did my research and as best as I could tell, it is legal so off I went. I brought with me a recorder, a copy of CADL v MOC, a copy of a statement from the GRPS superintendent saying it was legal, a copy of a Birmingham School District legal counsel opinion saying it was legal, MSP update 86, and a copy of MCL 28.425o. I did my best to prepare myself for every scenario I could think of. What am I going to do in this situation, what am I going to do in that situation. That way I could proceed with confidence in case someone tried to stop me. My wife even came along with in case she needed to bail me out of jail.

Turns out, it was much ado about nothing. Not a single word was said to me, at least not by anyone of authority. Honestly, I don't know how things could have gone better. I know there are people that are going to want specifics, so I will provide them as best as I can remember.

On the way into the building with recorder running, legal documents highlighted and in hand, and my 1911 openly carried on my hip, I ran into one of the commissioners. I forgot to pay specific attention to whether or not there was a sign on the door as I was talking to the commissioner on the way in, but I don't remember seeing anything and neither does my wife. The commissioner made a comment about me being persistent and asked how things were going in Kentwood (Suburb of GR I live in).

The entrance to the gym was only a few feet inside the door through which we entered the building. The commissioner and I each grabbed a copy of the agenda and headed into the gym. Right inside the door to the gym were two GRPD officers. I walked right past with them on my strong side. I'm pretty sure one of them looked down and saw my firearm, it was pretty hard to miss, but I didn't stick around to check.

I sat down in the front row only a few seats to the left of the isle. I've been doing this for a while now to make sure the commission knows I'm there. Just after I sat down, a woman finished her conversation and sat down immediately to my left. Turns out, she was the principal. A few minutes after sitting down, she got up to make some opening comments and then proceeded to sit down at the very end of the row instead of where she had been sitting. I assume that when she walked to the middle of the room to make her comments, she saw what was on my hip.

The meeting went as they normally do, except that the Mayor was absent, which was unfortunate. The (pro pot) Decriminalize GR movement was there in force and they made up almost all of the public comments. There were probably a least dozen of them, one woman against them, and me. When I got up to speak an older woman, who happened to be the same woman who spoke against Decrim GR, interrupted and said that she was uncomfortable and offended by my gun. She started to ask that I take it off when most of the Decrim group jumped in and told her to be quiet. They basically shouted her down, said that it was my right, and to let me speak.

After the meeting ended, Commissioner White asked me a few questions about why I OC. The conversation was polite and constructive. I believe he was genuinely interested. A bunch of Decrim guys talked to me afterwards too and they were all supportive.

I was one of the last people out of the gym and on the way out I walked past three GRPD officers standing by the door. I was worried that they had talked to someone during the meeting and were waiting for me, but not the case. I walked out just as I walked in; without issue just as it should be.

I don't know what else I could have asked for and I'm sure earlier efforts by others made my experience as smooth as it was. Hopefully this wasn't a one-off and future experiences will go the same way.

(Update) List of "materials" I brought with me:
- GRPS Superintendent statement (see the end of the article) [March 2012]
- Birmingham Public Schools outside legal counsel Clark Hill PLC "Right to Open Carry Firearms Cannot be Restricted" [November 2012]
- CADL vs. MOC Court of Appeals rulling (See Pg 6 & 11)  [October 2012]
- MSP Legal Update 86 [October 2010]
- MCL 28.425o No CC zones law
- Contact info for a lawyer or two
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 08:40:56 AM by bigt8261 »


  • MOC Leadership
  • ****
  • Posts: 210
    • Randys Old Time Radio Shows
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 11:49:48 PM »
Thanks for sharing!
I am not a Cop, nor a Lawyer, not even a Medical Doctor, but I did once play a Klingon at Universal Studios!

Offline Pond Scum

  • MOC Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 409
  • First Name (Displayed): Glenn
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 12:25:42 AM »
WooHoo!  Great Job!   I'm glad the decrim group helped to support you.  It is becoming a hot issue and I expect there will be more pressure on the city from them.

Thanks for your efforts and tenacity! 


Offline bigt8261

  • MOC President
  • MOC Board Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1482
    • Michigan Open Carry, Inc
  • First Name (Displayed): Tom
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 08:08:08 AM »
I really liked my speech last night so I've decided to post it here. Feel free to use it should you find a need.

In October of 2007, Amanda Collins was walking to her car after a night class at the University of Nevada at Reno. Amanda had a concealed carry permit for her 9mm Glock that she carried for self-defense. Unfortunately for Amanda, UNR is, like most college campuses, a gun-free zone, much like what many in this room promote. So, like the law-abiding citizen that Amanda is, she did not have her gun with her in this gun-free zone when she was attacked by James Biela. Biela raped her on the UNR campus, less than 300 yards from the Campus Police Office. He then walked away, and a few months later, this human predator went on to murder 19-year-old Brianna Dennison. Amanda Collins went on to say, quote "I know, having been the first victim, that Brianna Dennison would still be alive, had I been able to defend myself that night." unquote.

Now some people - and that includes many of you in this room tonight – want to place the blame for recent tragedies on things like thirty round magazines or semiautomatic rifles. We want to blame something, anything, that we can control – but what we really want to ban is violence, and murder, and insanity. We don’t talk about that, though, because deep in our hearts each of us knows that violence, and murder, and insanity are built into the human condition, and likely always will be.

You know, there are two kinds of animals in this world: predators, and prey.

No one watches a leopard chase down a gazelle and denies that the gazelle has a right to use its hooves and horns to protect itself from the predator. But there are people in this room tonight, and across the country, who would deny that same right to self-defense to other human beings. Such people seem to think that the way to stop the leopard is to cut the horns off of the gazelle – that by somehow making it easier for the predator, the predator will somehow go away. This is insane. When you make it easier for the predator – you get more predators.

Now, that’s nice and everything, but what does that mean here. Well, what kind of message does it send when a city leader openly states that he is not interested in following a law and then openly advocates for people to be confused about their rights? What kind of message does it send to the people in the community whom you ask to obey the law every day and punish when they don’t? What kind of message does that send to the students who go to this school that we hope will someday grow up to be responsible citizens?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I do not believe you have evil in your hearts – you’re just well-meaning. I guess I’ll leave it up to you to demonstrate how that difference should mean anything to people like Amanda Collins and Briana Dennison. Just yesterday Amanda Collins asked a Colorado State Senate committee quote “How does rendering me defenseless protect you from violent crime?” unquote. Unfortunately, Briana Denison wasn’t able to provide her thoughts on the matter because her attacker, I mean she was protected by a well-meaning politician.

Our Constitution exits to protect the People from tyranny.
Our Constitution exists to protect law abiding people like Amanda and Briana from supposedly well-meaning politicians like you.
The first part mostly came from Bill Whittle

Offline scot623

  • MOC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 301
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 08:22:02 AM »
You are the man Tom. I mean it, you impress the hell out of me. 

Offline TucTom

  • MOC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 565
  • First Name (Displayed): Tom
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 08:54:56 AM »
Tom, I am proud to be in an organization with individuals who are as professional as you.
I want to thank *EVERYONE who promotes and advocates for Michigan Open carry.  And a big cheer for all of you/us.


*After reading Pats response below, I wish I could have worded my response much more like his.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 08:40:01 AM by TucTom »

Offline METL

  • Posts: 632
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 02:51:14 PM »
Awesome job....    well done.   Even better is that I don't think for a second you're doing this to gain notoriety  for youself, or get high fives from you OC buddies...     It seems to me you're doing it because it is what is right.

When your intentions are noble and your cause is just, you shall prevail.

A sincere thank you is due from all of us to you.


   Carry on.

Offline gryphon

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4038
  • First Name (Displayed): Dan
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 07:36:44 PM »
Thanks for the detailed update.  You are very much a credit to the OC movement!

Offline CV67PAT

  • MOC Charter Member
  • Posts: 2615
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 10:05:25 PM »
Bravo Zulu!!!

This is preciously how it is done. Going about our business without drawing attention to being armed, nor looking to see if we get an "affect" either. Conducting ourselves as natural while armed as if we aren't.

Thanks for your efforts to instead draw attention to scofflaw elected officials. Those that are but one jack booted step away from being tyrants.
Want to keep informed of events in your area? Go to

Offline PharaohMagic

  • Posts: 12
  • "So let it be written;so let it be done."
    • NC Lock Service LLC
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 11:13:47 PM »
Amen! Thx.  8)

Offline bigt8261

  • MOC President
  • MOC Board Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1482
    • Michigan Open Carry, Inc
  • First Name (Displayed): Tom
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2013, 08:08:16 AM »
It looks like I avoided gaining the attention of any news outlets, which is good. I think the decrim guys stole the show and gave me a large shadow to work in.

No fuss, no news, just as it should be.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support.

Offline Donut

  • Posts: 62
  • First Name (Displayed): Donut
Re: OCed in Grand Rapids School 3/5/2013
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 11:18:32 AM »
Thanks Tom.
It's amazing the the general public is so wrapped up in there lives that they don't realize that they are letting their most valuable asset , Their children and love ones are being unprotected.  To allow them to go to any location and have the general public there and not be able to protect them or their families and 99.999% of the people around you are honest people that truly would want to help and to take there defense away to protect your children and family's, them this is just not right.
I'd rather be in any location that there is someone that might be able to stop the chaos rather be a sitting duck.
I hope our politicians do the right thing and stop trying to remove the protection from the honest person that is there to protect you.