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Thread: carrying in a courthouse

  1. #1
    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    carrying in a courthouse

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Tonight at Lizzie's we had a discussion about how an average citizen could carry in a courthouse.
    For a municipal court, it's legal as long as the person is a licensee (it's a taxpayer-owned building) & court is not in session.
    [See 175.60 (16) (7).]

    For other courts, our disagreement centered on whether or not someone has to be a licensee in order for the judge to give permission to carry (in a non-municipal courtroom).

    One group says the judge can do whatever s/he wants - give oral permission to anyone to possess during a trial or otherwise, whether or not that person is a licensee, & this is essentially what is done when people handle exhibits during a trial.

    The other says the law requires an average person in possession of a firearm in a courthouse to first be a licensee, then also have written permission from a judge, & anyone without a license and permission is committing a crime.

    Here's the part of the licensing law which applies to courts:
    175.60 (16) Prohibited activity.
    (a) Except as provided in par. (b), neither a licensee nor an out-of-state licensee may knowingly carry a concealed weapon, a weapon that is not concealed, or a firearm that is not a weapon in any of the following places:
    ...
    6. Any portion of a building that is a county, state, or federal courthouse.
    ...
    (b) The prohibitions under par. (a) do not apply to any of the following:
    ...
    2. A weapon in a courthouse or courtroom ... if another licensee or out-of-state licensee, whom a judge has permitted in writing to carry a weapon, is carrying the weapon.
    ...
    175.60 (17) (b) Any person who violates sub. (16) may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 30 days or both.
    Can someone please find & post a link to (citation from) statutes &/or rulings about judicial powers relating to this topic?
    I've been searching http://legis.wisconsin.gov/RSB/STATS.HTML for a couple hours now & have had no success.

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    What You Are Really Asking

    is whether a judge may authorize someone to violate the law. I would say no. The law refers to "licensee." There is a general carry prohibition for non-licensees in public buildings. With regard to the "exception," - the law refers to "carrying" a weapon. Handling exhibits during the course of a trial or other official activity is not "carrying." A better question is whether or not a judge has the power to prohibit carrying that is nominally permitted by statute in his courtroom. I would say yes. The judiciary is a separate constitutional branch and the legislature generally cannot interfere with the management of the courtroom any more than a judge can dictate procedural rules of the legislature. Stated another way - the judge can have stricter than statute rules but not vice versa. Best policy - don't carry in any courthouse at any time, with or without a license.

    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    Tonight at Lizzie's we had a discussion about how an average citizen could carry in a courthouse.
    For a municipal court, it's legal as long as the person is a licensee (it's a taxpayer-owned building) & court is not in session.
    [See 175.60 (16) (7).]

    For other courts, our disagreement centered on whether or not someone has to be a licensee in order for the judge to give permission to carry (in a non-municipal courtroom).

    One group says the judge can do whatever s/he wants - give oral permission to anyone to possess during a trial or otherwise, whether or not that person is a licensee, & this is essentially what is done when people handle exhibits during a trial.

    The other says the law requires an average person in possession of a firearm in a courthouse to first be a licensee, then also have written permission from a judge, & anyone without a license and permission is committing a crime.

    Here's the part of the licensing law which applies to courts:


    Can someone please find & post a link to (citation from) statutes &/or rulings about judicial powers relating to this topic?
    I've been searching http://legis.wisconsin.gov/RSB/STATS.HTML for a couple hours now & have had no success.

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    look at the , emergency issue of a CCL , a judge can issue an emergency CCL

    Jus 17.10 Emergency Licenses.
    (1) A court that is considering a petition for an emergency concealed carry license pursuant to s. 175.60(9r), Stats., or a court that has issued such an emergency license may ask the department to conduct a background check for the purpose of determining whether s. 175.60(3)(b), (c), (d), or (e), Stats., applies to the person requesting or holding the emergency license. Upon receiving such a request, the department shall conduct the background check as soon as reasonably practicable and shall report the results to the requesting court.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    What does that ^^^ have to do with the topic of the thread?

    And I did think of another way to allow a non-licensee to possess a firearm in a courthouse, as for handling exhibits during a trial.
    WI law allows the prosecutor to ask the judge for a grant of immunity for crimes which may be committed or come to light because of compelled testimony.

  6. #6
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    That a judge can issue a emergency license , then may permit a licensee to carry in court with written permission.

    as for handling exhibits they are typically logged into evidence by police and brought into court by the police and you are under police supervision when handling them , this is viewed differently than you carrying your own gun into court for self defense , or other reason.

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