Open Carry Specific > OC Experiences

Open Carry at the Taylor Sportsplex

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Not sure if this is the right place for this so please move it if needed.

On Saturday June 16th I attended an event at the Taylor Sportsplex. Doors opened for the event at 5pm and i showed up about 5:15/5:20 for a 6pm event start. At about 5:30 an employee and one of the staff for the event approached me asking if I could open carry at the Sportsplex. I responded to their question that yes, i could open carry that there were no signs. During this brief conversation the Sportsplex staff member mentioned that the Sportsplex was owned by the city. Both the staff member for the Sportsplex and the event staff member left it at that and returned to where they came. Then about 10 minutes later i got this weird feeling and looked over my shoulder at the door to see several officers standing outside in the atrium. A few moments later 4 officers approached me and the lead officer (Johnson) asked if we could speak in the atrium. I basically asked why, and Johnson asked again if we could speak in the atrium so that we wouldn't make a scene and so we could hear each other better. He asked me if i had a CPL which i produced along with my drivers license and we walked out to the atrium where we were met by 4+ more officers. I situate myself so that all of the officers are in front of me and the event is to my back and officer Johnson accuses me of refusing to leave. I explain to him that i was never asked to leave and that by either person that approached me earlier and his tone immediately changes. I explain that i answered their questions and they left. I explain that there are no signs on the any of the doors. Johnson asks me why i didn’t just conceal carry and i explain to him that i wanted to be legal at the Sportsplex since the Sportsplex hosts several men's hockey leagues there and i figure the Sportsplex sold beer/alcohol. It is explained to me that the Sportsplex doesn’t have a liquor license that the event got a special license for the event. Its around here where the building being owned by the city is brought up by the officer Johnson. I ask him if the city owns the building. He tries to deflect the question and i ask him several times before he tells me that the city owns the property but a private company owns the building. Johnson says that even though he’s an officer he couldn’t take his firearm to a lions game its a private company. I say to him that if the city owns the building he possibly could. I also say to him that as long as there are no signs you can open carry in most places as long as you have a CPL including gas stations which sell alcohol. Johnson says to me after another officer steps back into the conversation from running my info that i’m being asked to leave. I inform him again that i was never asked to leave or even to put my firearm in my vehicle. Johnson asks me if i’m will to do that. I tell him that since i would like to stay for the event that i would be willing to put my firearm in my vehicle.

Side notes:
This is my recollection of the events so i may be forgetting some things and forgot to record this, nor did i happen to see any body cam’s on any of the officers.
Building capacity was never brought up by the officers and i forgot, so his question as to why i didn’t just conceal carry is him suggesting i break the law as i’m pretty sure the Sportsplex houses more than 2500 people.
I figured out later that he was lying to me and that both the Sportsplex facebook page and the Wikipedia both have the City of Taylor listed as the owner. Further investigation via a conversation with Jeff Bobek confirmed that the City of Taylor does indeed own the Sportsplex.
I did make a comment after we got to the atrium along the lines of "what slow day" after i saw all the officers.

Signs don't carry the weight of law in Michigan. This is especially true of public places where they would be unenforceable anyway. Sounds like the officer called your bluff. It can be intimidating to be surrounded and harrassed like that the first time. Ultimately no one got shot and you were able to finish your event. It's just a shame the some officers are more likely to protect feelings than rights.
It took me years to get to this point, but sometimes all it takes is politely asserting your rights and letting them know you aren't going to cave. I had been open carrying for years when this incident occurred, but I was still somewhat nervous. I'm generally ready to be arrested in situations like this... but I would prefer not to be.

There's supposed to be a youtube video link here, but I'm not seeing it.

Even if you didn't see body cams you can still submit a FOIA and request any/all media regarding the incident. There might be some audio or recorded phone calls. Also, you can see if any reports were filed and what was alleged.

Well, I did submit the FOIA form to get the building record and they wanted $40 for something that if i really wanted to do the digging i could probably find within public record. Mr. Dobek said they have outstanding bonds on the building which means that buried somewhere in those public bonds is the information Dobek gave me. And i would say that the officer did to a certain extent call my bluff. I didn't really think to look up who exactly owned the building. But i will know this information for next time. I also know now that there are no capacity signs on the building, which if im not mistaken there should be. It also showed me, this being my first encounter that i do need to slow down some more and let my brain think. I have a tendency to think fast talk fast.

Dan, I fixed your youtube link.

JC, I've asked Tom Lambert to take a look at this thread, but if you are on facebook you should post this to the MOC group page there.

Ask to "join" if you are not already a member.


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