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Crowd Gathers For 'Open Carry' Picnic

DETROIT (WWJ) - Lots of picnics were going on Sunday in Metro Detroit, including one gathering that saw dozens of people openly carrying their weapons on Belle Isle.

The "Second Annual OC Picnic" was organized by the gun rights group Legally Armed In Detroit. They are the same group that organized an open carry dinner in a Detroit restaurant earlier this year.

The purpose of the picnic, according to event organizer Rick Ector, was to raise awareness that the practice of open carry is a lawful activity in Michigan.

WWJ's Beth Fisher spoke with Ector, who gave his thoughts on stopping gun violence in Detroit.

"We absolutely, positively can be lawful, responsible and moral with our firearms. It's only the bad guys. It's the bad guys that we have to be worried about," he said. "A visual deterrent of that visibly displayed handgun definitely sends a message to the bad guy that this is a person who's involved in their safety and is
willing to protect themselves."

As for gun violence in Detroit this summer, FaShon Vega has an idea to help solve the problem.

"It would actually come from a change of how we actually structure our system to help people think differently about life, their life, their community and how the things and the choices that they make affect not only them but the rest of the world, literally."

Ectors and others at the picnic said violence in Detroit is partially a result of unemployment and a lack of morals. Omar Collins said its a human problem, not a gun problem.

"They need moral instruction, that's the thing, that's the key. You know, hardly anyone goes to church anymore and we've become a more secular society. So, because we don't recognize our fellow man as a gift from God, it's a lot easier to gun them down on the street, so to speak."

Collins said authorities need to find out where illegal guns are coming from and make laws more strict on how people secure their weapons.

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