Gun Laws Too Strict, Say Gun Owners

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jan 08, 2013

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Some gun owners said Grand Rapids has gun ordinances that are too strict and that the ordinances don’t comply with state law.

In Grand Rapids, it’s illegal to openly carry a gun. It must be concealed. However, state law says it’s ok.

Gun owners are expected to show up to Tuesday night’s city commission meeting to bring up the issue. “I carry a gun. I have my concealed pistol license. I carry all the time,” Sandi Beahan, a Kent County resident said.

Beahan said she carries a gun to protect herself and others. On one hip she carries her pistol; on the other she carries two clips.

It’s a decision made by her life experience.

“I’ve been a victim,” Beahan said. “I’ve been raped, I’ve been beaten and had bones broken and I even had twins beaten out of me. I’ll never be a victim again. I refuse to be anybody’s victim.”

As a member of Michigan Open Carry she says she wants to be able to openly carry her gun in Grand Rapids. However, a law on the books prohibits that.

In contrast, state law says it’s ok to carry guns openly in Michigan.

“I have no interest, nor have I heard interests coming from the commission to make any changes in the city ordinance with respect to, with respect to open carry,” Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell said.

“The advocates argue that our local ordinances violate the ordinances of the state. That may be the case, but we’re not prepared to make changes,” Heartwell said.

Commissioner Ruth Kelly said, “In light of what happened in Connecticut, I think we have to have a broader public discussion of where it’s appropriate to have a gun and what type of gun.”

Kelly said she’s opposed to residents being able to attend public meetings with guns in the open.

The mayor says he’s formed a coalition to address the issue of gun control in the city. Beahan and other advocates say that’s a different conversation.

“All we’re asking is for the city to come into compliance and alignment with the state law,” Beahan said.

It’s not on the agenda for Tuesday night’s city commission meeting. However, gun owners are expected to show up and bring the issue up during public comment.