Wisconsin AG issues opinion, "open carry is legal"

This is a discussion on Wisconsin AG issues opinion, "open carry is legal" within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Releases Advice to District Attorney’s Regarding Open Carry and Disorderly Conduct MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen released guidance ...

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Thread: Wisconsin AG issues opinion, "open carry is legal"

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    Member Array Kevin Jensen's Avatar
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    Wisconsin AG issues opinion, "open carry is legal"

    Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Releases

    Advice to District Attorney’s Regarding

    Open Carry and Disorderly Conduct



    MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen released guidance in the form of an Advisory Memorandum to Wisconsin’s District Attorney’s today regarding Wisconsin’s Constitutional Right to openly carry firearms and its relative application in matters of criminal Disorderly Conduct.

    The Advisory Memorandum is summarized as follows:

    Under Article I, § 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution, a person has the right to openly carry a firearm for any of the purposes enumerated in that Section, subject to reasonable regulation. The Wisconsin Department of Justice believes that the mere open carrying of a firearm by a person, absent additional facts and circumstances, should not result in a disorderly conduct charge from a prosecutor.

    “It is not unlawful, barring other facts and circumstances, to openly carry a firearm in Wisconsin,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. He went on, “This is offered as guidance to Wisconsin’s prosecutors when making charging decisions. It will also assist Wisconsin law enforcement in the exercise of their duty to keep the peace, protect rights and enforce the law.”

    See the Advisory memorandum at:

    http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/file...nCarryMemo.pdf
    Kevin Jensen
    Utah State Researcher,
    www.opencarry.org

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    Member Array nasal's Avatar
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    Distinguished Member Array tinkerinWstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nasal View Post
    I don't have time to read the response right now. But won't that equate to the state giving out more dollars in lawsuits? If the AG issued an opinion and won't prosecute, then what are the officers doing making arrests? Sounds like a quick way to a harrasement lawsuit and there are probably a few lawyers already foaming at the mouth to make some money.
    "Run for your life from the man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another-their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

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    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinkerinWstuff View Post
    I don't have time to read the response right now. But won't that equate to the state giving out more dollars in lawsuits? If the AG issued an opinion and won't prosecute, then what are the officers doing making arrests? Sounds like a quick way to a harrasement lawsuit and there are probably a few lawyers already foaming at the mouth to make some money.
    My thoughts exactly. I hope the City of Milwaukee has some deep pockets, they're gonna need 'em!

    Seems likely that they'll also be looking for a new police chief in the not too distant future......
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    In WA State open carry is legal as well. Seattle Police make it a routine to Terry Stop anyone with a gun. I'm not aware of the Chief ever issuing such a policy, and the city hasn't been sued.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    IMO (which is worth what you paid for it), a Terry Stop for simply open carrying isn't valid in a state where open carry is legal. A consensual encounter is fine (of course the open carrier would be free to leave at any time and not be required to stop at all). The Terry decision sets out the requirements for a reasonable suspicion stop/detention as suspicion that the subject of the stop has engaged in, is about to engage in, or is engaged in criminal activity, AND is armed.

    Open carry in an of its self, in jurisdictions where it is legal, meets requirement #2 but not requirement #1. Stopping someone for open carrying absent facts and circumstances to be believe a law has been or is about to be broken is similar to stopping a car just to make sure the driver has a license absent reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

    That is the standard I hold myself to at any rate. Absent reasonable suspicion, I leave people openly carrying weapons alone.
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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    I agree Landric. I wish Seattle's Mayor didn't consider himself above the law, but he does.

    Here's a bulletin from 2007 (available via Googles Cache right now, the original link has been locked down):

    Legal Bulletin

    Innocuous enough, except that SPD wants a Sergeant to respond to all open carry calls:

    Additionally, patrol sergeants are being instructed to respond on all open carry incidents.
    And you can see from this incident, they will in fact contact someone for simply open carrying:

    Police Beat - News - Police Beat - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper

    Bear in mind that the other elements of the story are not relevant - she deserves to be in trouble for FTA, yes it's a fake gun, etc.

    At the core of the issue is that the responding officer called for back up and determined that contact was necessary simply for open carrying.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    Member Array DblTap's Avatar
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    Well, this WILL get ugly:
    Police Stop Man For Carrying Gun Out In Open - Local News Story - WISN Milwaukee

    Police Response
    Milwaukee's police chief said he'll go on telling his officers to take down anyone with a firearm despite Van Hollen's finding that people can carry guns openly if they do it peacefully.

    Chief Ed Flynn said officers can't assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.

    He said that means officers seeing anybody carrying a gun will put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide if the person has a right to carry it.


    So I ask, how many deaths by auto are there in this city anually?
    is he stoping EVERYONE in a vehicle to check that they are driving legally? So let's take down every driver and "decide" if they have the right to drive?

    What a bunch of .... 'people for whom we don't particularly agree with'.
    Last edited by DblTap; April 22nd, 2009 at 02:17 PM. Reason: Language.
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    "He said that means officers seeing anybody carrying a gun will put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide if the person has a right to carry it."

    Put you on the ground, take your gun, and then determine if you have aright to carry it?

    Try that with me and I would be the first in line to sue. I firmly agree that open carrying is provocative, hence the reason I carry concealed, but when legal, I shouldn't have to be expected to put up with that kind of treatment.

    What happens when a legal carrier is injured by being "put on the ground" for carrying legally? Sounds like an opportunistic situation for a person looking to milk a state that is probably not in the financial shape to withstand it (at least if it is like ours). On the other hand if this Sheriff is dealing with as many murders as he seems to have, maybe he should be worried about doing his job to catch the actual bad guys. Having a legal concealed carry option would seem to be the answer to protecting citizens 2A rights, and not allow BG to carry openly.

    Either way, sounds like a new Sheriff is in order.
    Last edited by DPAZ; April 22nd, 2009 at 03:10 PM. Reason: typo
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    Granted, common sense is not so common anymore but seeing someone open carrying shouldn’t it be assumed they are doing so legally, after all a criminal would not want their weapon to be seen until they are about to use it.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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    Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said he’ll continue to tell officers they can’t assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.
    My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we’ll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it,” Flynn said. “Maybe I’ll end up with a protest of cowboys. In the meantime, I’ve got serious offenders with access to handguns. It’s irresponsible to send a message to them that if they just carry it openly no one can bother them.”
    My god!!! What happened to "innocent till proven guilty"?

    That says a lot about him, I tell you!!! This "is" America, isn't it?
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    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DblTap View Post
    Well, this WILL get ugly:
    Police Stop Man For Carrying Gun Out In Open - Local News Story - WISN Milwaukee

    Police Response
    Milwaukee's police chief said he'll go on telling his officers to take down anyone with a firearm despite Van Hollen's finding that people can carry guns openly if they do it peacefully.

    Chief Ed Flynn said officers can't assume people are carrying guns legally in a city that has seen nearly 200 homicides in the past two years.

    He said that means officers seeing anybody carrying a gun will put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide if the person has a right to carry it.


    So I ask, how many deaths by auto are there in this city anually?
    is he stoping EVERYONE in a vehicle to check that they are driving legally? So let's take down every driver and "decide" if they have the right to drive?

    What a bunch of .... 'people for whom we don't particularly agree with'.
    And the first time that happens the Attorney General should order the State Police to arrest the Milwaukee police chief for violating the state constitution. Maybe a few days in lockup and he'll realize his job is to enforce the law, not make the law.
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

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    Distinguished Member Array tinkerinWstuff's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the mayor and the city attorney likely planted their foot firmly up his tail. What an idiot! He should have kept his mouth shut but now that he's on record with an opinion like that the city will be guaranteed to lose any lawsuit.
    "Run for your life from the man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another-their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."

    Who is John Galt?

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    Member Array Holger's Avatar
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    Another thing that disturbs me about this guy is the further militarization of the police through his comments. I don't like seeing deputies and cops in cargo pants, boots, tac vests, and baseball caps. These guys are NOT "troops," they are police officers. I'm sorry, but when you put a young man in military-style gear on a daily basis and put a huge emphasis on "tactical" instead of basic law-enforcement, it changes his mindset.

    This Chief's cops are NOT "troops," and should not be referred to as such. They are police officers. It may have just been a figure of speech, but I'm not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

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