Open carry is legal in Wisconsin. The State has a strong state preemption law forbidding local governments from enacting a patchwork quilt of conflicting ordinances. A local mother noticed that one of the people using a park, imagination station, was openly carrying a holstered pistol. She posted a picture of it on facebook and wondered if it were legal. The local Milwaukee television station, TMJ4, affiliated with NBC, saw the discussion of it on Facebook. Steve Chamraz asked questions of local officials in Oconomowoc, where the park is located. From TMJ4:
Only one little problem with that. The "city official" seems to have a misunderstanding of the law. Nik Clark, head of WisconsinCarry replies in the comments:While the sign in the park does not explicitly state a ban on firearms, a spokesperson for the city said local law banning guns applies.
It is NOT illegal to open carry on public property. Oconomowoc isn't allowed to have its own gun laws. State statute 66.0409 pre-empts local ordinances with regard to gun carry/possession.Nik has been involved in numerous lawsuits that have resulted in settlements over these issues. Here is 66.049(2):
Open carry is PERFECTLY legal in Oconomowoc in public including Imagination Station and shame on local police for misleading the public about their lawful carry rights.
(2) Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration or taxation of any firearm or part of a firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.Ken Nelson, Adjunct Professor at Rush University replies:
Sorry Teabillies. Oconomowoc ordinance 9.02(2)(a) prohibits weapons "On any land located in City parks or within any public building owned by the City."He is quickly shot down, by other posters who say that he is simply wrong. He cites state law, but the posters tell him that state law changed with the passage of the shall issue act 35 in 2011. They cite the code. I checked. The two statutes that he cites have to do with fish hatcheries and public buildings, not parks.
I wonder if TMJ4 will investigate further. My money will be on Nik.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch