Local gun group acts reasonably to police request

A local group recently decided to take to the streets of Grand Haven to demonstrate their state and constitutional rights to openly carry a firearm in public places.
Aug 19, 2013

The group flooded the front lawn of Grand Haven’s City Hall on the last Friday of the Coast Guard Festival to spread their message and let people know that what they were doing was legal, and that more should be done to protect their constitutional rights.

The group had originally wanted to walk through the carnival in downtown Grand Haven, where thousands of people mingled for evening activities, but word quickly got out to Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke, who called the organizers of the event to express his concerns.

Fortunately, the group of demonstrators had the good sense to listen to Hawke's concerns about the walk through downtown with guns clearly visible. If not, the group might have created a frightening situation for families who gathered downtown.

While that may have been a possibility, the reality is that the two sides were able to come to an agreement to keep their demonstration to the City Hall lawn, and to not startle or cause too much of a stir in the festival crowd.

It is nice to see, in a time when we are so divided on many issues and many things seem to be so unreasonable, that this group was able to come to a reasonable agreement.

Let's hope that other groups and organizations take this example to heart and learn that you can get your message across to the community in a manner that doesn’t obstruct the fun and cause concern for others.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.




I believe this couple had every right to do what they did, they were not out to hurt anyone but out to make sure theirselves were protected and to exercise their rights...I do not believe that everyone who carries a gun is harmful just because others dont know the true meaning of carrying a gun besides to hurt others. I think its wonderful that some people know their rights and are not afraid to exercise them. I am very proud of this couple and hope they keep up the good work of showing others how they can protect their rights and that everyone else should know their rights as well...


Thank you very much for your post Swhipple. I belong to Michigan Open Carry and couldn't agree with you more. My boyfriend and I hold seminars, BBQ's and Dinners in Northern Michigan to educate. We have recently walked around two festivals and held a large BBQ, we have met a lot of new people and not one child ran away screaming. Thank you again and we will continue our work.


This group needs to be commended and encouraged. In an environment that is consistently trying to scare people into not carrying out their constitutional rights, these people did what was right ... even if they had to alter their plans to adjust their plans.

Carrying a gun is a reasonable thing and should be looked at as such. We should be MUCH more worried about the criminals with guns and much less worried about those that are simply law abiding citizens.


we have the right to protect constitutional rights, im sure, but why is it so important for one to openly carry a gun, even tho we dont live in Detroit or Chicago where there is much crime, i still wouldnt think of carrying one

The Voice

Let me ask you this why do police and private armed guards openly carry their weapons?


thats a silly question, thats their job


Now to respond to your comment about why carry here. No we are not a big City, we don't have a lot of Crime. Neither was Aurora, CO. Does anyone remember the break in at the Jewelry Store downtown? How many were killed? Could it possibly have been stopped? So why should we want to Carry in little old Grand Haven? Why not. If someone is able to stop just one Crime, one Death, I think it is more than worth it.

Back to the Wall

I think you mean the double murder at the jewelry store downtown.

Calling it a "break in" does not give yesterday's victims or today's cause the respect they deserve.


You are correct and I correct myself. I meant to put it in Quotes because that's what people tend to call it. It was a tragic Murder and I am sorry if it sounded like I downplayed it. But my point about why carry here was made.


Most gun owners see their gun as a tool and feel that having a tool with them is important. I see it the same as someone carrying their smartphone on their hip. Although a smartphone is not at all important for me to carry all day, most people will not leave the house without it.


As the mother of a 9 year old, I am frightened beyond words to know you folks are actually out doing this. I would have reacted had I seen you all and would have called 911 to lodge a complaint. And really1976? Same as a phone? You need serious psychological help. Then again all gun nuts do.


I feel very sorry for your 9 year old.


Bigwaves, please help me understand what you find so frightening about someone who is carrying a gun legally? Please be specific.

deuce liti

I got this: with all of the public mass shootings that have happened in the last 5 years it is completely unreasonable to not understand why someone might be frightened by seeing someone carrying a gun out in the open. You would have to be very ignorant to not understand someone's fear with all that has happened in our country. In fact, people who need to carry their guns to the grocery store or wherever (in the open) are just desperately seeking attention.

They may be so attention crazy that they could be seen as a threat. I only fear that someone with a concealed weapon may think so too.


Did the people carry openly in a harrassing manner. If I recall, they even informed the city of their plans and moved to a different location per the cities request.

Seems that was rather intelligent way to handle it, not "ignorant" as you like to labeled it.

What makes you think someone the conceal carries is going to whip out their gun and fire at someone that is open carry that is not acting in anyway menacing towards others? Please show where that has specifically happen.

deuce liti

Actually I said it would be ignorant of someone to not understand why a person may be fearful of a person walking around openly carrying a gun.

I'll add that it is called empathy.

Though most people have apathy.

You asked bigwaves to explain why they would be afraid of someone openly carrying a gun and I answered it.

Now you are applying my answer to something that I didn't address at it.

you can't carry a gun in the open and then act offended/astounded/appalled because people have been conditioned to fear by crazy public mass shootings.

Also, you don't have to establish precedents for every possible scenario for it to be a possible danger. Imagine if your government waited for a precedent before they prepared.


Oh I see, mental Jujitsu. Alright. I asked Bigwaves what is so frightening about someone who is carrying a gun legally. You answer for them about all the mass shootings and then say those that are doing it are just desperately seeking attention. What do you base that on?

I then ask you if the people carry in a harassing manner and even quantified my response with what they did before they carried at Coast Guard.

You then pivot on what you called ignorant after you stated "you" would have to be ignorant and say "it would be ignorant for someone" to not understand why....

For clarification, what answer am I applying to something you didn't address?

You touched on the very reason the demonstration was held when you say people have been conditioned to fear because of mass public shootings. Do a little research and add up all the people killed by mass shootings in the past 20 years and then check and see how many people have been killed in any ONE year in lets say Detroit, or Chicago.

Your right, you/I don't need to establish precedents for every possible scenario and just like the government we, the people, do not need to wait to prepare for danger when we have a second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

deuce liti


Welcome to Crazyville. Population: you.


Thanks, you prove my point of left created hysteria regarding guns. Case closed.

Laker Dad

Bigwaves, you should watch this video.



need a button to delete your own comment


The point to the Demonstrations is not to scare you or your children. It is not to scare anyone but the bad guys. So are you or your children afraid of the Police Officer that has a gun on his hip? Why should they be afraid of Joe Citizen? The "Bad Guys" aren't going to be showing you that they have one. Not to scare you more but for every gun you see in the open, there are several more people around that are also carrying a gun that you don't know about. When the "Bad Guy" decides to attack who do you call? You call a guy with a gun who will take a while to get there. I hope there is someone also trained with a gun that is right by you and your children that can protect you faster. Just something to think about. If it weren't for guns, we would be bowing to a Queen today.

Tri-cities realist

Bigwaves, hopefully by reading this article you have learned that it is legal to openly carry firearms in the state of Michigan, so unless the person is acting in a threatening manner, you don't need to call 911. After watching the YouTube video that was posted here, I better understand, perhaps, why you feel the way you do about guns. As with most things, education can help, but of course you are free to continue feeling as you do. I would just ask you to contemplate that the vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding, peace loving citizens, who hope to never have to use their gun against another human being, but if given no other option, will do so to prevent someone from being victimized.


Additionally, exactly NONE of your constitutional rights have been been infringed upon. What's your point anyway conducting these so called "demonstrations"? Get a better hobby for crying out loud!!!!!!!

The Voice

Bigwaves99 why exactly are you frightened 'beyond words'? Does being a mother of a 9 year old somehow make your views more concerning than others? I’m a parent of 5, 6, 8 and 18 year old…does that mean I’m 3X more concerning than you?
I carry every single day of my life, I run all of the road races in Grand haven and surrounding communities with my weapon, I hike in Duncan's woods with my weapon, I attended all of Coast Guard with my weapon...you can call 911 if you like to report that you have an illogical fear of a fellow citizen but there is nothing that will accomplish; Michigan is an open carry state. Cities, schools, parks, beaches, woods so on and so forth are legal places for a citizen to openly carry a weapon.
The truth is each year, so called constitutional scholars, ‘community activists’ and media/celebrity personas attack gun owners and gun owners’ rights. So while in Michigan NONE of our constitutional rights have been further infringed on, that doesn’t mean uneducated and ignorant people may not try again to infringe upon them. So it is extremely reasonable and credible to promote education and responsibility around gun ownership and gun rights. It should never concern a fellow citizen when individuals gather with the intent to promote and educate about our Bill of Rights. These individuals only came out to promote education and outreach regarding gun rights and responsibility. The Second Amendment does not stop at one’s doorstep, but protects us wherever we have a right to be, a citizen is not required to offer a ‘good and substantial reason’ why he should be permitted to exercise his or her rights.
I for one would like to know why you’re so scared of fellow neighbors and citizens from carrying a gun? Is it a form of projection?
If your being attacked you pull out your cell phone it will be your tool to protect yourself and your 9 year old , I on the other hand if ever attacked will pull out my tool and defend my children with much more certainty than you would be capable of with a phone.
If I’m never attacked that would be even better then I will never ever have to use my weapon which is my goal in life; but I will continue to educate my children that nobody has a right to take their life without them defending it. I’ll continue to tell them each day that safety is always first; and that human life is the most precious gift we’ll ever be given or witness to, and to always treat it as such.

I hope your able to grow up and move past illogical fears, along the way maybe you’ll be able to better educate your child how important their life and rights are as well.


on the other hand, if confronted with an attacker, maybe he will have a gun also, see,s you have one and instantly shots you down even before your aware what has happened, no confrontation what so ever, done deal


gordbzz231 I do agree with you with this statement. A criminal is going to scope out those that are carrying openly first. I have always supported gun rights and Open Carry rights but I have always urged Caution to those that want to openly Carry their firearms. The criminals as well as everyone around knows that you have a weapon. You will never get a chance to reach for it. Neither you nor the Thug will know that I have mine. I think I have a better chance of being effective in a bad situation.


To me, swhipple nailed it.
I may also add, IMHO it is not the law abiding citizen practicing open carry, or the law abiding licensed citizen carrying concealled that concerns me. Not in the least bit. It is the one carrying concealled illegally that raises my anxiety. That is the one that possess the question, "Why?!?!?".


I am not a big fan of open carry, although I certainly understand and respect the right to do so. I have carried concealed for over 40 years, military, police force, and on through my professional career. I would guess that in that 40 year period, other than family, not more than a half a dozen people every knew I was carrying, but they were well protected. When it happens, not if, and someone, maybe even me, steps up and risks life and limb for others, you will stop your complaints. This happens all the time by the way, you just aren't aware of it.


I'm with you ru on open carry. Like someone else mentioned on here, why let the bad guys know you are carrying.

That said, the open carry demonstration was done so people that are not familiar with guns can see that people carrying guns are not crazy lunatics like the some in the media like to hype.

Nice job by this group. It was done lawfully and with the knowledge of the city and the police.


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