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Twin Cities group plans “open carry” meet ups to coincide with “Open Streets” events

posted Jun 18, 2013, 2:06 PM by Ronnie V

Minneapolis, MN (June 18, 2013) - A local gun owners group is aiming to make a positive impact during a planned series of social meet ups they’ve dubbed “Open Streets – Open Carry,” which will coincide with the “Open Streets” events already planned in Minneapolis and St. Paul throughout the summer months.

A spokesperson for the group, Twin Cities Gun Owners & Carry Forum, says he hopes that their visibility at the events will help to increase awareness about lawful and responsible gun ownership, as well as help to educate the public on Minnesota’s right-to-carry law.

“There’s a lot of misconception about Minnesota’s carry law,” spokesperson Ryan Krieg said. “If you have a permit-to-carry recognized by this state, there is no requirement to conceal your firearm.” He explained that the confusion originates when, instead of using the preferred term, “right-to-carry,” people use the generic terms “concealed carry” or “conceal and carry” when referring to Minnesota’s carry law. He stated that those terms are often even used by firearms instructors and law enforcement, which he claims further adds to the public’s misunderstanding of the law. “The result ends up being a very confused public that panics and calls the police when they see a ‘good guy or gal’ who has a visible but securely holstered firearm at their side.”

To emphasize the point, Krieg relayed the details of an experience that the group had in March during one of their monthly coffee meet ups that resulted in the police being called and three squads responding. “There were about twenty-five of us having coffee, laughing and socializing at a coffee shop in Hopkins when another customer walked in, saw a few of us with holstered firearms, turned around and left and called the Hopkins police. The person apparently had no concept that it was legal for citizens to have an exposed firearm, so they panicked without thoroughly assessing that there was no ‘threat’ present.”

Police calls like that end up being a waste of public safety time and resources, Krieg insists, and maintains that criminals and those without permits would be unlikely to openly carry their firearms in public. “The police were cool,” laughed Krieg. “They even said they had ‘no problem’ with us carrying but said they need to check it out when people call about a ‘person with a gun.’”

Asked why the group decided to schedule the open carry meet up events to coincide with the Minneapolis and St. Paul “Open Streets” events, Krieg stated that the group had been exploring options to organize their own stand-alone “open carry” events through their affiliated online forum, Minneapolis Open Carry, but decided that attending as a group at the already scheduled events was a “perfect opportunity” for the gun owners’ group to take advantage of the highly visible public settings and share information with the community through active participation. “Plus, we’re no different from everyone else,” Krieg insisted. “We like to have fun and participate in community events with our friends and families, too. The only difference is that we legally carry a firearm.”

Responding to questions about why someone would open carry versus conceal carry and whether there are any safety concerns, Krieg replied that many of the people he knows open carry for different reasons. “It can be a comfort issue, [or for] accessibility in an emergency. If seconds are at stake, you don’t want to have your response time impeded by clothing.” For some, he said, having a concealed holster inside a waistband can become irritating, and for women, who are usually more fashion conscious and wear more form-fitting clothes, he said they may not want the bulges or they may have trouble fitting a holster inside their clothing. “For others, they open carry simply because, by law, they can.”

Krieg contends that some even feel that open carrying a firearm is a crime deterrent. “Of course, we can’t measure crime that doesn’t happen, but if a bad guy is profiling for his next target, why not remove yourself from being sized up as a potential victim in the first place?” When asked about the possibility of people having their guns taken from them in an open carry situation, Krieg said that borders on “Urban Legend.” “There’s no doubt that it’s happened,” he said, “but the statistics just don’t bear out as a whole in comparison to the number of people who lawfully open carry. If you want to talk about who’s safer, compare assaults of people who aren’t carrying against the number of people assaulted who are legally carrying.”

As of June 1 of this year there were 144,127 persons with a Minnesota permit-to-carry, and nearly 59,000 of them in the seven county metro area according to the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearms Instructors (MADFI) website. According to MADFI, the June total increased by 5,564 from the prior month making it the fourth largest monthly gain since the Minnesota Citizens’ Personal Protection Act (MCPPA) was passed in 2003. The MCPPA moved Minnesota from a "may issue" to a "shall issue" state, meaning that with some exceptions the law requires sheriffs to approve all applications, provided those who request permits are at least 21 years old and have recently undergone handgun safety training.

Krieg suggested that it appears that 2013 permit-to-carry numbers could be on pace to nearly double the number of permit holders Minnesota had at the end of 2012, which was approximately 90,000. “That means you’ll likely be seeing a lot more people carrying, Krieg claimed, “making public awareness and education even more important.”

 
   

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