With Open carry now allowed, will Wisconsin soon move to concealed carry?

Will gun control activists who oppose open carry agree to a concealed handgun law?

RACINE COUNTY — An important new gun-carry ruling has even gun rights advocates seeing imperfection in this state’s gun-carry laws.

Tuesday gun rights advocates and top law enforcement officials here were asked to weigh in on Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s Monday memo. It stated that openly wearing a holstered gun is not grounds for a disorderly conduct charge.

The case involved a West Allis man who was charged with disorderly conduct for openly carrying a gun on his property while planting a tree.

The result of Van Hollen’s opinion is that one cannot legally carry a concealed weapon in this state — but bearing one in plain sight is within the law.

That doesn’t mean all gun rights supporters are happy with the situation. “I don’t agree with the open carry,” said Jim Schunk, owner of Shooters Sports Center, 4900 6 Mile Road.

“I believe you should have to go through a class and get a certification to be able to carry,” said Schunk, a former police officer.

But Schunk said he thought Van Hollen’s ruling was sensible under current law. “I think it’s going to push our political system to take a second look at this,” he said. “We’ve got to regulate this somehow.”

State Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, pointed out that state law forbids concealing a weapon — but says nothing about carrying one openly. “It’s not addressed, so it can’t be illegal,” he said.

He said concealed-carry law opponents may have induced the current state of affairs. Gunderson twice worked to pass a concealed-carry bill through the Legislature, but both times Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it.

“It just seems to me if we would have passed concealed carry law, I have a hard time believing we would be at this point today,” Gunderson said. . . . . .

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Blogger Mike Gallo said...

Dr. Lott - Thanks for the coverage of this, as it's a big step in the right direction for us. We are not, however, looking for mandated concealed carry (as our last two proposed CCW laws would have been), but we are looking for comprehensive carry ("we" means the Wisconsin Patriots, the group who got this opinion issued). We don't want government telling people what their best carry option is.

4/24/2009 2:27 PM  
Blogger Mike Gallo said...

Oh, one other point is that OC has been legal in Wisconsin since 1872, it's just that now the police and prosecutors have been explicitly told they may not apply the DC statute to this lawful behavior, as has been threatened for decades. This letter didn't technically change anything legally, but it brought substantial weight to our cause in the public eye.

4/24/2009 2:29 PM  

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