Marge Giznsky, Carleton, Mich., attends the Ohio Carry and Michigan Open Carry picnic in Pearson Metropark in Oregon.
It is perfectly legal to openly carry a firearm in Ohio without a license, and Ohio Carry wants to make sure everybody knows it.
“Legal, gun-owning people aren’t going to cause trouble,” said Robert Tasker, Jr., vice president of Ohio Carry’s northwest chapter.
Ohio Carry — a firearms rights, education, and advocacy group founded in 2012 — held a picnic in Oregon’s Pearson Metropark on Saturday, co-hosted by Michigan Open Carry, which aimed to “provide a fun, family friendly environment where people can come together to celebrate their freedoms and to ask questions and get more information freely,” according to an event news release.
Ohio requires a gun license only for concealed-carry. In Michigan it is legal to openly carry a firearm without a license in all places not exempted by law. A license is required for concealed carry.
About two dozen people of all ages attended the picnic, with more coming and going throughout the day. The group has 114 official members, although more than 3,000 people have “liked” the Ohio Carry Facebook page, and more like the pages of Ohio Carry’s regional chapters.
Kenny Hill, Toledo, plays with his children Kole Paradyzc, 3, and Payton Hill, 2.
“It’s not about guns,” said Robert Tasker, Jr., vice president of Ohio Carry’s northwest chapter. “It’s about unity and being together and getting to know more people.”
In addition to the picnic, the event included games like kickball and cornhole for children and a raffle with such prizes as a flat-screen television, gift certificates for local businesses, and memberships to both Ohio Carry and Michigan Open Carry.
Many people brought their families, including Mr. Tasker, a father of four. Education about firearms safety is a priority for Ohio Carry.
“How to properly handle a firearm around children is my big thing,” Mr. Tasker said, adding that he keeps his guns locked in a safe in his home and his children know not to touch them.
Ohio Carry’s central chapter also has plans to hold gun-safety programs for children based on the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle program.
Ohio Carry and Michigan Open Carry picnic in Pearson Metropark in Oregon promoted a family environment celebrating freedom.
The organization is interested in expanding its community involvement beyond guns, too. Northwest Ohio Carry recently applied to volunteer for the Adopt-a-Highway program and they are preparing for a Christmas toy drive for families in need.
Mike Perchard, the secretary of Michigan Open Carry, said he was glad to hold an event with a like-minded organization with the aim of “advocating the right to defend yourself in public with the most effective tool possible.”
The picnic was one of many events in Pearson Metropark Saturday and Metroparks representative Scott Carpenter said he was not concerned about the presence of firearms.
“As long as everybody is behaving within park rules and the law we’re happy to rent shelters to them,” he said.