A reader’s thoughts on “open carry” in Wisconsin

I’ve written a little bit about my thoughts on gun control, and more specifically, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s advisory memorandum that opined that the open carrying of firearms by citizens in Wisconsin is in fact perfectly legal, as long as those pistol-packing individuals don’t bark at a passerby or brandish a handgun in public. I’ve also been getting some emails on the topic, and I received this in my emailbox from a reader who gave permission for it to be reposted, on the condition of anonymity:

Yesterday in West Bend (I think) Attorney General Van Hollen “clarified” his stand on open carry, inadvertently erasing all doubts that this was a political endeavor rather than an honest effort at addressing a law enforcement issue.

Van Hollen stated that the problem with the Disorderly Conduct ordinance is that anybody can be arrested for virtually any reason. Really?

Well, not exactly. According to his view of the law, the DA’s will be throwing out Disorderly Conduct citations simply for openly carrying firearms, even if that open carry is in a bank, or a church, or in the presence of children.

So, apparently Van Hollen wants to make sure that no matter what distress an individual causes the general public in carrying his weapon, he is causing no disorder.

If children are caused to run screaming in the street from “that man with the gun” well then that’s their problem, isn’t it? If those children’s parents see a man openly carrying a firearm around their children and it causes them either great distress, or worse, causes them to react themselves, well than that is just those goofy parents being over protective, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, Van Hollen erased any doubt that his motivations in raising this issue are political when he said that this issue would be solved if only Wisconsin allowed concealed carry. Oh Really? How?

The cat is now out of the bag. Anybody can carry a firearm virtually anywhere in the state for any, or no, reason. How will that be “solved” if we hurry and pass a concealed carry law?

If anything, it will cause conflict between the open carry and the concealed carry people. Who is faster, an untrained individual openly carrying a firearm, or a better trained and checked individual concealing their firearm? Which will sense danger first and make a move? Boy, do I feel safer now.

And anyway, why go to all the training and checks to verify that you are competent to carry and safely use a firearm, when you can simply strap on your gleaming lead spitting friend and walk around like Clint Eastwood?


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40 thoughts on “A reader’s thoughts on “open carry” in Wisconsin

  1. Why shouldn’t I be able to open-carry fireworks? Is a firecracker more or less dangerous than a gun? What about a big Bowie knife? Cool or not cool? What about a sword?

  2. Perhaps Jim Doyle is right. Some of you are just genetically inferior to those of us who live in free states.

    I openly carry in my bank, my liquor store, my gas station, my grocery store, my church, God only knows around how many law enforcement officers, all my friends, and certainly in front of little children. I can honestly say that I cannot even get one left wing moon bat liberal to go running and screaming the other way from me.

    Do you know why? I am not a threat to them.

    Until you decide to threaten my life, I am not a threat to you either.

  3. Don’t insult, Gene. You’re trying to win support here, aren’t you?

    I understand that the law is in an ambiguous place right now. My AG isn’t as confident as you. How about we clear that up and have a true civil discussion about it?

    My point about fireworks and swords stands – what kind of “free” are you talking about? There are folks in this state who don’t want to see a woman breastfeeding in public, but they’ll defend the right of someone to open carry.

    That Wisconsin Patriots logo is one of the scariest things I’ve seen today. But it’s early…

  4. Well John and Zach. If you do go around carrying Bowie Knives and swords you had better carry them in the open. The concealed carry statute includes them as well as firearms.

    It reads: 941.23 Any person except a peace officer who goes armed with a concealed and dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

    As you see it doesn’t pertain only to firearms. Within state statutes Bowie knives and swords are defined as dangerous weapons.

    The Attorney General’s memorandum protects you from being arrested for disorderly conduct as well as those that carry firearms.

    Be careful when you point your finger at another because you will have three pointed back at yourself.

  5. Dale, I’m well aware of the statute.

    Would you like to attend the Bowie knife open-carry picnic we’re planning?

  6. Dale, I know the wording of the law. In terms of the civil discussion that Wisconsin needs to have as the meaning and implementation are illuminated either by OAGs or legislation, I think it’s it’s good to discuss exactly what people can be carrying and why.

    You left out fireworks and breastfeeding. What kind of “free” are we talking about here?

  7. Roland, things are no less civil at The Other Side than they are at Badger Blogger.

    Thanks for your contributions to the discussion!

  8. I’m in favor of concealed cary, although not terribly passionately. For me it comes down to this. I don’t believe that it will have an impact on public safety worth considering. Absent any data that show this, the government has no compelling interest in edging up that close to the 2nd amendment by forbidding it.

    I guess I feel the same way about open carry, but I know one thing without doubt: I personally would feel like a real jerk wearing a handgun on my hip. That’s just me, maybe. I don’t know.

    While we’re on the subject, why are automatic knives illegal to have unless you’re in law enforcement or active duty military? I’d much, much rather carry one of these (I own several). It’s isn’t nearly as effective as a self-defense tool, but it sidesteps virtually all of the risks of owning, carrying and being responsible for a firearm.

  9. Open carry is the right, concealed carry is just a privilege. In practice, open carry does not alarm anybody and often is not even noticed.

    Lear more and take action at Opencarry.org today

  10. Dave, the difference here is that where in the Constitution does it say your desire to smoke is a protected right?
    You cannot carry concealed correct? Then by law you must carry openly. I hate to make it sound this way, but as the AG has agreed its not against the law, and it is a protected right, then yes; if you are terrified of the guy with a gun on his hip tough luck.
    If you saw a huge guy covered in tattoos and leather, your typical Hell’s Angel bad boy biker, bulked with muscle and giving you a evil look would you be frightened? I would. But is he doing anything illegal? No! Sorry guys, but just because your scared or intimidated doesnt mean it should be illegal.
    Perhaps if we were to curb any amendment at all it should be the right of free speech. Dont you ever get tired of hearing the morons talk? Or better yet, you have to pass a test proving your not overbearing and obnoxious. You can contribute intelligently to a conversation. Then you will get the permit allowing you to speak in public.
    Or better yet, I think religion is insanity. So many wars and killing over a belief that isnt even proven! Lets limit it ONLY to places of worship so Im not offended by seeing someone pray over a meal at some resteraunt. It would keep the Jehovahs witnesses from my door too!
    Those examples of restrictions are the same as restricting guns in my view. A right of every man and woman, as long as you follow the rules of society and dont commit a felony.

    I could go on. Like we are willing to send an 18 year old boy or girl to risk the life they hold dear overseas, giving them weapons that can kill hundreds with the push of a button! But when they come home they could die at the gas station down the street because here in america they arent allowed to go buy a handgun to defend themselves from crooks. By all means send them to fight soldiers and terrorists, but god help us if we let that same trained KILLER have a gun at home!
    Hope that pointed some things out to you all.

  11. Love the comments Matt. To those who can truly reason, you make very valid points. You obviously know the answer to all your above questions, though, is that gun-control is what will ultimately give the government the control it needs. Hitler would be jealous of the propaganda BS used here, as our rights will surely be stripped, and [with the approaches being used] people will embrace it. Free Speech control is actually not unforseeable. (See Orwell’s 1984: freespeak, thoughtcrime, etc). Everything we currently see makes us sick…but how much more is planned?. We are an engineered society. All by design. Gun control is a small (sick) pixel of the big picture. I’ll get off the soap-box now lol…all in favor of open-carry, concealed carry, whatever! It’s our right, and now is possibly the most crucial time in America’s history to show that. Let’s buy for a second the official 9/11 story with the buddha-buddha scary terrorists. Maybe if people were allowed to have guns, the terrorists would have been shot? Wow – if even one of our citizens could have been carrying on the plane that day, they could have changed the course of this nation’s history. There’s a thought (until we remember who really did the attacks) But no…we get our guns taken “for everyones safety’. Well I personally feel 100x’s safer with my gun on me 🙂


  12. While there could be many arguments to that question’s affirmation and negation, I will take the stand that we all have equal rights to protect ourselves. If someone shoots at me, I want to shoot back and let fate decide the final outcome. No amount of gun control makes anything safer. The ‘bad guys’ are going to do what they want regardless of the laws. Take the Binghamton shooting a couple of weeks ago. The 13 deceased victim’s families probably aren’t too confident anymore that all of NY’s gun laws create a culture of safety for law-abiding citizens. The fact is that we’re conditioned through propaganda to equate gun with ‘terrorist’ (in the context of one who causes terror to others) unless it’s the cops that are carrying them. Maybe if someone would have been packing, they could have prevented innocent lives being taken…and same with 9/11 yes. Would this create a Wild West? Who knows…it’s all subjective, right? The engineering of society will continue regardless. I would like to think it wouldn’t though…especially if we had adequate justice for crimes committed in this country where people had to pay actual consequences (see Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio) instead of soak up tax-payer money. If you feel differently, I’d love to hear your (or anyone’s) reasoning!

  13. Should an every day Joe be allowed to have a gun on a plane? Hmm how bout it Karl? Personally I think it’s a bad idea, but then I think it’s a bad idea to go to the bar while carrying. Legal in my state however and I don’t think it should be up to government to decide. It should be an Individual choice. You won’t see me carrying and drinking though.

    As to the plane? There are sky marshals, but they are just cops. For those of you who trust cops I say your fools. Your average gun owner is likely a better shot. Most cops only practice once or twice a year. Gun owners shoot much more often. Some officers are afraid of the gun and it’s not unheard of for a cop to draw and then refuse to fire. A LEO near my home town had his duty piece out while on duty showing off to a friend while in a grocery store and shot himself in the hand. Lucky he didn’t hit someone nearby. This was no rookie but a veteran of the force with 17 years of service under his belt. They are human and make mistakes, or can be good or bad, just like you and I.
    So why not allow them onto planes? Because if a madman got on board there Is no place to run? Sounds like a school. Or a mall. Or a resteraunt where mass murders have already happened. Funny that in those places it was illegal to have a gun. That’s criminal.
    Oh wait! That’s what criminals do. Break the law. So by all means let’s pass more gun laws so I can’t carry my gun down the street. A criminal won’t care and will have his anyway. But because I obey the law I will only be able to hide and pray to god he doesnt decide to get me too.
    In case your not familiar with the resteraunt story the woman had her gun in her car because they are illegal in resteraunts in that state. The killer drove his truck through the building and started shooting people. Her mother and father were shot to death along with others. Good thing her gun was in the car where it was useful! She might have missed and shot the fry cook! OR she might have stopped him.
    But she couldn’t even try. Who are you to tell me I’m not allowed to protect my own life in certain places? Is my life less valuable on an airplane? So is my safety in the hands of the airline company? Where are the guards on the plane?
    Gun Free Zones like that are crime buffets. Come Shoot Me zones. I Cant Stop You zones.
    The stories of people saving themselves with firearms are legion. More than half aren’t even reported to the police. Why? “Hello? 911? I’d like to report that a crime just didn’t happen!”

    I open carry sometimes. Never been bothered. A few people have been curious and asked me questions. The most I’ve ever seen is someones eyes bug out and they went into the next checkout lane. Couldn’t have been that worried if they only moved ten feet over hmm?
    Those that notice rarely care. Do crooks walk around with a gun in the open for all to see. Nope. Be more worried about those who conceal.

  14. “So why not allow them onto planes?”

    While we’re at it, why don’t we give bombs to every third passenger, right?

  15. I don’t see where bombs are spoken of in my copy of the Bill of Rights. They do not constitute bearable arms.

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