“We're out here raising awareness for Second Amendment rights and constitutional rights,” said event organizer Shane Wimer. “You can’t always rely on the police. When seconds count, they’re minutes away.”
The Spring Lake man said one of the purposes of the demonstration was to let people know they are responsible for their own safety.
“When you strap on a pistol, it gives you a feeling of confidence,” he said. “You could walk into the worst neighborhood and still have that feeling of confidence.”
It is legal in Michigan to openly carry a firearm, as long as it is carried with lawful
intent and not concealed, subject to certain restrictions. However, a pistol can’t be carried in public where it violates the local ordinance.
Wimer said he has used his gun as protection from an attempted carjacking.
“If it wasn’t for my pistol, who knows what would have happened,” he said. “I was able to diffuse the situation just by drawing my firearm. I was able to get away from the situation and call the police. I didn’t try to track the guy down or anything like that or follow him.”
Wimer added that the people that met outside City Hall isn’t a formal group.
“It was more or less the exposure that’s here today,” he said at Friday's demonstration. “Obviously, there’s thousands of people in downtown Grand Haven right now, and I’d put my money on saying that 75 percent of the people don’t know about open-carry laws and gun laws.”
Cassie Menner of Grand Haven attended the demonstration.
“We need to see in this world and we have to be the change in order to see the change,” she said.
Menner said she is concerned about safety and making sure that constitutional rights are protected. That safety stance is not only for personal protection, but also for using a firearm.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.