What is Open Carry? Michigan Firearm Laws

Updated: Apr 24

No concealed carry license? You still have the right to openly carry your pistol here in Michigan. Learn the does and don'ts of Open Carry and Concealed Carry here.

Hello everyone, my name is Joseph Radzwion IV, Your Trusted Attorney with Radzwion Law, PLLC. In this post we will answer the question, “What is Open Carry?” and “What is the purpose of Open Carry?” We will also give you some tips on how to remain legal while openly carrying your pistol.


What is Open Carry?

Open carry of a pistol means you have the entire holster and gun exposed, top to bottom, side to side, so that the casual onlooker would know that a pistol is being carried. In other words, a shirt, jacket, or any clothing worn, is not covering any part of the pistol or holster.


The purpose of Open Carry.

There are various reasons a citizen may choose to open carry. Two legal reasons would be (1) if you don’t have a concealed pistol license (“CPL”) or (2) you have a CPL and want to carry into a concealed carry free zone listed in MCL 28.425o.

If you don't have a CPL and you want to carry a pistol, open carry is an option to consider. Someone considering open carry needs to be at least 18 years old, and the pistol must be purchased in accordance with MCL 28.422.


Now CPL holders may be thinking “why in the world would I ever want to open carry when I can conceal carry?” Think about this, every time voting season is upon us, a lot of our voting polls are located in pistol free zones, meaning some citizens are not allowed to carry concealed when we go to vote. Likewise, if a CPL holder go to a movie theatre/entertainment facility with a seating capacity of 2,500 people or more, they won’t be able to carry concealed.

However, the law provides exceptions to the concealed carry free zones listed in MCL 28.425o. If a CPL holder wanted to carry their pistol into one of these places, they can legally, with a fully exposed, openly carried pistol carry into the concealed carry free zones. We'll look more at that in detail in other posts but for today's purposes, we are explaining what open carry is supposed to look like and what open carry is not.


What is NOT considered “Open Carry.”

Some people choose to carry a pistol with a holster that is inside the waist band or “IWB” but this is not considered open carry even when the top part of the pistol (the grip) is exposed. We previously talked about how the pistol must be fully exposed top to bottom, side to side so that when the casual onlooker sees it, they can tell it is pistol. (Fully exposed in the sense that it is safely placed in a holster and both the grip of the pistol and the entire holster are completely exposed.) However, if you have a IWB holster that clips on your belt, and the lower part of the holster tucks into your pants, thus hiding (concealing) the lower part of the holster and pistol, this is not considered open carry. A citizen who is attempting to open carry should NOT use a holster that requires part of the holster be tucked into the pants. This may result in a felony CCW charge.

Likewise, if a CPL holder wishes to openly carry a pistol into the concealed carry free zone, the CPL holder should NOT attempt to do so with an IWB holster. Let me say that once more, if a citizen with a CPL is going to openly carry their pistol into a concealed carry free zone listed under 28.425o, it is not wise to use a IWB style holster while doing so. To see the examples of open carry and IWB issues in action, watch the video below.


In Conclusion

Open carry is a right we as Michiganders possess to carry a fully exposed, holstered pistol. To learn more about Firearms laws subscribe to our blog by entering your email address. This way you won’t miss out on our Friday posts!



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Demonstration of open carry and IWB carry here.


YOUR Trusted Attorney:


If you would like to retain Radzwion Law, PLLC as YOUR Trusted Attorney, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to protect you when you need it most and we will fight for your freedom.




(REMEMBER: this post should not be taken as legal advice and you should always consult a Trusted Attorney with your legal questions.)

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