Green Room

Milwaukee police chief: Open carry may be legal, but we’ll give you hell for it

posted at 9:36 am on April 22, 2009 by

On Tuesday, a major step was taken in asserting the Second Amendment in Wisconsin. Attorney General JB Van Hollen issued a memorandum stating that the act of openly carrying a handgun in a holster was not grounds for a disorderly conduct charge. This came largely as a result of recent court cases in West Allis and Milwaukee, where citizens had been arrested, had their weapons seized, and were cited, for no other reason than the fact that pistols were on their hips. The more high-profile case involved Brad Krause, who had been in his front yard doing some landscaping when a neighbor called the police about the fact that he was wearing a holstered handgun. The police responded immediately with multiple officers, drawing their weapons, disarming him, and placing him under arrest. Eventually the charges were dismissed, as they were for Jesus Gonzalez, who received similar treatment while carrying at a Menards store.

Wisconsin being one of the only two states left where concealed carry is illegal, it’s expected that some officials would be upset with the right to self-defense being restored to its citizens. The mayor of Milwaukee somehow foresees:

“Does that mean if they are walking down the street with an Uzi that that doesn’t cause a disturbance?” Barrett said. “It’s insane. It’s insane to be carrying guns on the streets of Milwaukee.”

Anyone know where I can get a good hip holster for a submachine gun?

However, the important opinions come from the police chiefs, right? They, after all, will be the authority on instructing officers on how they should change their behavior when being contacted about citizens bearing firearms. For example:

Racine County Sheriff Bob Carlson said from now on, if a caller reports someone with a gun, dispatchers will be instructed to ask other questions such as: Is the person agitated, quarreling, or in a place posted against guns? And so on.

“I want to avoid any kind of visceral leap toward making an arrest purely on the basis of carrying a firearm,” Carlson said.

But he noted that the ruling pertains only to a holstered gun — not one in the hand.

Similarly, it’s still illegal to have a gun lying on a car seat, for example. And pointing a gun at someone is “absolutely” illegal, Carlson pointed out.

The fact is, the vast majority of gun owners who will be open carrying will know better than to do these things, so there should be no problem. In this case, the Sheriff is doing his job properly. In another case, however:

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.”

Excuse me, sir? I believe you just made a public statement that you would be assaulting people and stealing their property, while simultaneously interpreting constitutional law by your own arbitrary standard. You’re going to be abusing your authority because of your own personal feelings about what is now officially recognized legal behavior. Why has this man not been immediately fired?

Oh yeah, it’s Milwaukee, where the problem begins with the citizens. We’re in a mindset where we treat a person waving a gun around with the same fear and trepidation that we treat a person in their front yard, planting trees and simply having a gun in a holster, exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong, people like Flynn, Doyle, and other elected officials need either to be voted out, or be pressured by every Wisconsin citizen with an interest in their right to self-defense. At the same time though, we need to get the rest of the residents of Wisconsin either less paranoid at the sight of a weapon, or we need to get our state representatives to pass the concealed-carry initiative with a 2/3 majority. If people are going to call the cops whenever they see a secured firearm, then the best choice would be catching up with the other 48 states, especially since Illinois is seriously considering it as well.

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“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”

Wow. Can’t wait for the multi-million dollar lawsuit against him.

Free Constitution on April 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM

And make it a personal lawsuit. PC Flynn is blatantly ignoring the law, there should be no qualified immunity for him.

rbj on April 22, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Van Hollen is great. So much common sense in a sea of insanity.

It’s great having some local stories here on HotAir. I think that’s where the Green Room is headed, towards local stories that we don’t get to hear in the national news cycle. You should send a few links to Vicki Mckenna on stories like these so she knows they’re getting at least limited attention in the blogosphere.

BadgerHawk on April 22, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I am just so glad that there is no more actual crime in Milwaukee so that the police have all the extra time to harass law-abiding citizens. Yay!

Spirit of 1776 on April 22, 2009 at 12:21 PM

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

Mr. Flynn, perhaps you’ve heard of this wonderful little provision called the Second Amendment? You should try reading it sometime. Particularly those four words about “shall not be infringed.” My right to carry that weapon does not depend on your say-so, Mr. Flynn. It comes straight from the Constitution. You know, that really old document no one pays attention to anymore?
Oy. I’d bet anything this clown voted for Teh One.

TheQuestion on April 22, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Lawsuit, my capacious posterior.

Violating civil rights under color of authority is a crime.

Russ on April 22, 2009 at 3:09 PM

So, Brad Krause was carrying on his property when the police came and confiscated his firearm and arrested him? That is disturbing, to say the least.

common sensineer on April 22, 2009 at 3:43 PM

Aww, shut up! At least you people can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I live in MA and I’ll never have any rights.

thegreatbeast on April 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM

Anyone know where I can get a good hip holster for a submachine gun?

http://littlebearholsters.com/

My friend Dave runs it, he’s a vet and does excellent work ;)

@ntif@n on April 22, 2009 at 4:17 PM

How is a citizen’s time restored? I’ve heard not all confiscations result in a return of property. What does the little guy do when the full power of the state takes him down, appologizes after the fact, and stonewalls on any redress? Everyone is one manufactured trafic ticket away from a radical life change. And you don’t dare even raise your voice during the arrest. Gotta love neighbors who are already informers.

AnotherOpinion on April 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Don’t forget to name the neighbors who called the police in the law suit (even as a John Doe).

It will give the neighbors something else to worry about.

Right_of_Attila on April 23, 2009 at 2:29 PM

or we need to get our state representatives to pass the concealed-carry initiative with a 2/3 majority. If people are going to call the cops whenever they see a secured firearm, then the best choice would be catching up with the other 48 states, especially since Illinois is seriously considering it as well.

You need open carry as well, though. We have CCW here in Texas, but open carry is still illegal. Opencarry.org tried to get legislation put forward this session, but I think it failed in that effort.

If you’re carrying concealed and your gun accidentally becomes visible, it’s then open carry. And if open carry is illegal (either by law or police tyranny) then you’re going to have trouble. It’s difficult to carry and never, ever have the gun show (or print.)

TexasDan on April 23, 2009 at 6:01 PM