Potato salad and pistols
Open carry picnic this weekend at Seymour Lake Twp. Park
July 28, 2010 - Be prepared to bring some potato salad along with pistols and holsters to the second annual Open Carry picnic at Seymour Lake Park on Saturday, July 31, from noon to 3 p.m..
Those who attend the potluck picnic are invited to openly carry their handguns during this event, designed to build public awareness about the open carry law.
Any Michigan resident who is 18 or older and owns a legally registered handgun may openly carry it in a holster, with or without a concealed pistol license, in all places not specifically exempt by law.
Oxford resident John Roshek organized the local picnic last year, which he described as a great success.
"We had a couple hundred people last year. I knew we were going to have a good turnout, but it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be," Roshek said. He hopes to build on last year's success in order to make it even bigger.
"We had such a good turnout and positive response last year that I am looking forward to doing it this year and next year as well," he said.
He thinks that people will be more educated this year about open carry opposed to last year when the law was fairly new.
"I think that last year, a lot of people were coming out to learn what open carry was all about. It was still fairly new at the time," Roshek said. "I think this time around there will be a lot more people that will attend that will be educated on it and know their rights."
Roshek added that he hopes the people who attended last year's picnic will come back and bring their friends and family so they could learn about their rights as well.
The picnic will be a very informal picnic that will be open to everyone in the public.
"If they have a concealed pistol license and wish to conceal, they are more than welcome to do that...if they want to come out, talk with people and learn and learn a little bit more about open carry, that is completely fine." Roshek added.
Even though there will be open carrying, the event is designed to be family friendly.
"It's a kid friendly environment. We had a lot of parents bring their children last year and they all played together," Roshek said. "It was a good time and everyone had a lot of fun."
"It really is no different from any picnic anyone else would have with their friends and family on a regular basis," Roshek added.
During last year's event, people who did not attend the event but saw what as going on kept coming up to Roshek and supported what he was doing.
"A lot of parents with kids over in the Splashpad came up to us and said that we don't own guns, but we support what you are doing with helping educate the people on the rights and the fundamental aspects of it," Roshek said.
The plan for the event is to just answer questions that people might have about open carry.
"We want to show them that open carry is not something that people have to be afraid of and something you don't have to be concerned about when you see a law-abiding citizen open carrying," Roshek said.
The event is not in conjunction with Michigan Open Carry Inc., an organization designed to educate and desensitize about the legality of openly carrying a handgun.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.