Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Open Carry Stop in Middleton Wisconsin



I have been staying in Middleton, Wisconsin for a couple of months. After an injury a couple of years ago, and a serious case of pneumonia, I have changed exercise from running to brisk walking. 

Wearing t-shirt and shorts limits the options for concealed carry. Most of my walking in the area started about 0500, but on Monday, July 9th, I had stayed up late, coming back from a play at American Player's Theater in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

I slept in. I didn't get out to exercise until after 0800. It was a mistake. Instead of a few cars along the route I was walking, it was a minor rush hour north of Lake Mendota.

Madison and Middleton are deep blue in their politics. 41 minutes and three miles into the walk, I saw the SUV with the flat and narrow light bar slowing down and stopping as it approached me.  I was only 100 yards from turning off of the busy roadway, and 300 yards from the end of my walk.

I knew what was going on. The lights came on and the vehicle stopped.  As I approached the Dane County Sheriff's vehicle, the deputy got out. Good morning, I opened.

He stretched out his hand. I shook it. He introduced himself. His tone was apologetic. A hand shake is a time honored tradition between armed men. It shows the weapon hand is empty.

"I know you have the right." he said.  But with all these drivers, we got a call, and I have to check it out. I introduced my self. He said: "Out for a walk?" Yes, I said. Would you like a card? I was thinking of giving him a business card.

No, he said, it is open carry, it is a right. You don't need a card, misinterpreting the card I was offering as an offer of ID or a CCW permit.

I sympathized with his position, having been on the other side of the contact equation.

He was not intrusive, essentially apologized for the contact, and never asked me to disarm or for ID.

It is a serious contrast with what happened to the Culver's five, on September 18, 2010. They were arrested for disturbing the peace, for merely open carrying while eating dinner at a Culver's restaurant in Madison. That case ended in a settlement of ten thousand dollars to the open carriers who had been arrested and falsely charged.

The deputy was polite, professional, and knowledgeable.  He did not approach the "man with a gun" call with a chip on his shoulder. I have been treated with less respect and more fear in stops in Yuma, Arizona.

The police have always been potential allies in the culture wars. Most street officers support the Second Amendment. As more people carry, openly and concealed, the police on the street find the people who carry are the good guys.

Court cases educate them to treat armed citizens with respect. That respect is reinforced with street experience.

I am wary of volunteering information to strange police officers. But all open carriers are, to some extent, representatives of the gun culture. This is a balancing act. The officer made clear he wasn't fishing for information. I did not volunteer much, except I was exercising.

The re-normalization of the gun culture continues.

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

4 comments:

Paul Weber said...

The Police bring this on themselves. If the Police, when called about someone carrying a gun would simply state - "Open carry is legal. Unless the person is doing something else that warrants our going out to contact them we're not going to respond." A lot of these callers would get an education, and the Police fewer unnecessary calls.

Anonymous said...

Don’t understand your obsession with open carry. I carry concealed daily, would never fore arm anyone with the knowledge of my weapons possession.

Chris Weingarten said...

Glad this turned out well. Keeping the right to keep and bear arms seems more and more important. Not too keen on the NRA donations exemption. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-treasury-restricts-donor-disclosure-requirement-for-some-nonprofit-groups-1531788345

Figure it's a stand up for your loyalties just like this personal open carry right.

Still the way politics is moving, Russia doesn't have gun rights unless you are or know someone in the government.

Unknown said...

Great article. I live in Janesville and I open carry everywhere I go. Besides being asked to remove my gun at a restaurant in Black Earth, I have not received any complaints. I have seen other people open carry as well around here. I enjoyed reading your articles about the AZ church you attended. Can I contact you privately to discuss a matter at a church I am attending?