Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Reason Why You Might Not Be Able To Open Carry At This Weekend's Detroit Country Hoe Down

This ensuing weekend - tomorrow through Sunday - the city of Detroit will play host to the 29th Annual Country Music Hoe Down at Hart Plaza. The event is currently billed as the largest free country music festival in the world.

Among the estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 persons expected to attend the festival over the three-day weekend will be law-abiding gun owners who actively carry a firearm. In the state of Michigan both concealed carry and open carry of a firearm is legal and both will be practiced by some members of the attending public. However, some lawful gun owners will not be allowed to participate.

To start, persons who either possess a Michigan issued Concealed Pistol License (CPL) or a "resident" CPL from his home state (See MCL 750.231a) which has reciprocity with Michigan will be able to lawfully carry a concealed handgun in Hart Plaza.

In 2002, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm clarified in Opinion #7120 that an "outdoor recreational park" such as Hart Plaza is not an "entertainment facility that seats 2,500" and does not constitute a Pistol-Free Zone under the Concealed Pistol License Act.

Further, I don't think any anti-gun politicians or law enforcement officers in Detroit or Wayne County would have the unmitigated gall to claim that Hart Plaza is a bar under the aforementioned statute, even if alcohol is being sold and served at the event. Thus, lawful conceal carry is authorized for this weekend's event at Hart Plaza.

Additionally, in the state of Michigan, it is unquestionably legal for a person - at least 18 years of age - who has his firearms rights intact to display a handgun - registered in his name - in a completely visible holster as long as he is on foot and he is not present in a statutorily defined "Pistol-FREE Zone."

Since Michigan law lists "An establishment licensed under the Liquor
Control Code" as a Pistol-Free Zone (See 750.234), unexempted persons under Michigan law are not able to carry a firearm at Hart Plaza this weekend because the Hoe Down has been issued a liquor license that lists both the upper and lower levels as the premises of the event. However, the very same statute lists Concealed Pistol License holders as exempt from the specified Pistol Free Zones.

Thus, it is only legal for the "average citizen" to carry a firearm at this weekend's festival at Hart Plaza - whether it is open or concealed - if he/she possesses a valid Concealed Pistol License. Obviously, the liquor license issued to the promoters of the festival is the issue preventing non-CPL holders from legally open carrying a handgun.

In my opinion, it is a shame that a promoter's livelihood or his opportunity to make a fast buck is going to potentially disarm a gun owner at this weekend's event. A potential compromise would possibly be to list only the lower level as the premises for the liquor license. Of course, pigs would fly first because alcohol sales are the revenues that financially "drive" the financing on this "free" event.

To make sure that readers of this post are absolutely clear, let me repeat: Open Carry and Concealed Carry of a handgun are both legal for this weekend's festival at Hart Plaza ONLY for people who have Concealed Pistol Licenses!

If you have a desire to acquire a CPL, I invite you to visit my web site - Rick's Firearm Academy of Detroit - and to register for my state of Michigan compliant Basic Pistol Safety Training Class.

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