Gun Carriers Walk into Ponderosa Steakhouse

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email
They say they were simply exercising their rights

Real Gun

LANSING -- Quite the scene developed outside Ponderosa Steakhouse in South Lansing this past Saturday afternoon.

About seven men walked into the restaurant, packing guns -- open for all to see in holsters on their hips. A short while later, Lansing Police showed up to show the men out.

A verbal argument between the gun carriers and officers ensued, caught on camera by a bystander (the video can be viewed at

"The open carriers were of course not happy, because they were minding their own business, doing a lawful activity," said Tyler Hilliker, a gun rights supporter who was at Ponderosa on Saturday.

Under Michigan law, people with legally registered handguns can openly carry them in public. Some of the men who walked into Ponderosa, in fact, were members of the Michigan Open Carry. They were holding a meeting to discuss gun rights.

Only thing is, private property owners can refuse them.

"My analogy would be: If you come to my home, that's private property. I can decide who I want and my home and who not," said Teresa Szymanski, captain of the Lansing Police Department's South Precinct.

Officials from Michigan Open Carry say the owner of Ponderosa greed to let them hold a meeting at the restaurant. But he says he didn't expect the meeting to be held on a busy Saturday -- and certainly didn't expect the men to bring more than handguns.

"At first, we looked the other way on the handguns," said owner Dennis Holleran. "And then some gentleman shows up with an assault rifle, and that was just too far over the top."

That's when an assistant manager decided to call police. The open carriers say about 10 officers arrived on the scene and began harrassing them.

But LPD say no one was arrested and notes they're now working cooperatively with Open Carry to ensure this doesn't happen again.

"I think the taxpayers of Lansing want us to respond to gun calls. But at the same time, we need to be aware of individual rights."

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  • by Tyler on Sep 2, 2010 at 06:21 PM
    I know this is several months old,but DB,the adults in this altercation didnt set the example,the legal adult teen was the one whom planned it!
  • by Don Location: Eaton Rapids on Mar 8, 2010 at 07:39 AM
    Sandi, I do know what bullets can do and if I knew I could open carry years ago, I might not of got shot 5 times down in Detroit. My wifes family has been victims of shooting violence as well and no we are not drug dealers or thugs or even have anytype of criminal records. So yes, thank GOD for our rights asa Americans. You might as well go live in a third world country. I have no problem with shooting someone and facing the consenquences if it means my wife and children are safe. I however, do not agree with the bonehead that carried an ar-15.
  • by Mike Location: MIchigan on Feb 24, 2010 at 04:32 PM
    I want everyone on here to realize that they are excersizing their 1st ammendment right and while they do that, I excersize my 1st and 2nd ammendment rights. If you believe in one of the ammendments of the bill of rights (which is the first 10 ammendments of our US constitution), you need to believe in them all. If you do not, they will all be taken from us. If anyone needs to be refreshed on our rights, copy and paste this, Thank you.
  • by DB on Feb 19, 2010 at 03:28 PM
    What kind of an example were these grown men setting for the teenaged youth that was standing there with them. Common courtesy goes a long way. Obviously these backwoods boys weren't raised with any. They spend their time trying to salve their insecure egos with disruptive behavior. What's the matter fellas, momma didn't give you enough attention when you were growin up? If they have nothing better to do than "CAUSE" our tax payer dollars to be used up to salve their insecure egos by being disrespectful to the common good, maybe they should think about doing some volunteer work. It would be a much more productive way of getting themselves in the news! If you choose to waste the time of law enforcement officers because you don't know how to police yourself in society,then you'll have to do public service to pay back to society the time you stole from it!
  • by Dave Location: Ohio on Feb 19, 2010 at 08:59 AM
    If I read Sandi's post correctly, she would RATHER BE RAPED than HIRE AN ATTORNEY!? And I thought _I_ had an aversion to lawyers!
  • by Kelley Location: Grand Ledge on Feb 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM
    By looking at the protesters photos at Ponderosa, lets only hope they were shootin' fer the salad bar & skip the dessert tray. I feel safe with them around.. NOT
  • by Mike Location: Michigan on Feb 13, 2010 at 01:24 PM
    To those that said "these idiots only hurt the open carry cause", consider this. If you are not going to use the right anyway because it is stupid to open carry, then why do you care if the right exists at all? Just in case some day you want to carry open and loin the idiots? Please try to think before you speak.
  • by KyleGray Location: Lansing on Feb 11, 2010 at 07:25 AM
    "I prefer Mace, a Taizer, and self defense classes." Sandi, Sandi, Sandi, You must not be from Michigan. Mace and taizers are both illegal here in MI, and to make it worse, capsicum(pepper spray) is regulated to 2% vs the recommended 10%. Your self defense classes are worthless when you have a gun in your mouth. And believe me, I am well versed in "self defense" training. If I have to shoot some one, and I have to hire an attorney, Outstanding! I am alive! I would rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6. As far as in your home, it doesn't matter where their body fell if you felt threatened by them, you are justified. I am not telling you that you have to carry a gun, that is your free choice, But don't you dare tell me that I shouldn't, because it is also my free choice!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 9, 2010 at 06:45 AM
    ignorance of the law isn't a valid defense for citizens so it certainly isn't a valid defense for LEOs who are supposed to uphold said laws.
  • by Dan Location: Grand Ledge on Feb 8, 2010 at 09:36 PM
    Thank you LPD. With the ever changing laws and new case law, it's impossible for officers to keep up with the changes. They do their best to protect & serve. Give them a break - they want to go home to their families at the end of their shift.
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