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Thread: WI Small town OC?

  1. #1
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    So I live in a small town. Very small. 2k people. Obviously OC isn't much of a necessity here. But there is a bike trail there that goes for quite a ways. So my brother and his friend went to a small wetland area outside of town, but I can't help but worry about something like coyotes, wolves or maybe even bears, considering how far out we are in the boonies. In any event, I was curious what would happen if I were to just holster my makarov and just walk down the bike trail. Tried to call the county clerk to get a hold of the county attourney, couldn't get a hold of him so I decided to look it up myself and didn't find anything in any of the brown county ordinances. (I live in brown county.) So tell me more about open carry in Wisconsin and what I need to know to open carry safely? What specifically makes open carry legal? I called the city of green bay because I was curious about that, and unfortunately green bay does have an ordinance against carrying of any kind (27.603 subsect 3) So no go there. I'm curious about appleton though. Or Fondulac, or even manitowoc.

  2. #2
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    People in WI have the right to keep and bear arms in our state constitution and in the US constitution. Concealed carry of a firearm or other "weapon" is explicity prohibited in the state statutes. Therefore the only manner by which someone can carry a firearm legally is openly. However, you cannot OC in a car, since this is prosecuted as concealed carry.

    However, watch out for no carry areas such as:
    1) school zones within 1000ft (this is a felony if you violate)
    2) places that serve alcohol
    3) buildings leased or owned by the government.

    OC on a trail in a small town sounds like it would be more accepting than here in suburban Waukesha. But then again I have OCed in waukesha before. In fact, the weather was nice today so I just OCed in Waukesha walking around my neighborhood with my wife for about 20 minutes. No problems, though many people weren't outside to see me. But then again, I have done my homework regarding OC. I am covered on my insurance should I ever have to use my firearm for self-defense and I am fully prepared to defend my rights should I have an police (LEO) encounter.

    One must be prepared for LEO encounters especially. WI citizens are not used to OC and in surburban areas some people are especially anxious about it...calling the cops sometimes.

  3. #3
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    By the way, any local ordinance prohibiting carry is unenforceable and incorrect. Wisconsin's premption of firearms laws stops localities from enacting laws more stringent than the state laws. LEOs may also need to be remined of this fact.

    Overall, LEOs and the general public need some education on OC here in WI.

  4. #4
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    I have yet to actually attempt OC in small town WI (I come from a place of 8k), I think it will present some unique interactions between yourself and other folks. Where in a larger town, you can't get away with the whole for self defense justification quite as easily. Many folks will be more comfortable talking to you, and will really inquire about your intentions about OC'ing. So be prepared to have alot of conversations about OC'ing. On a side note, while the State preempts any city ordinances pertaining to open carry of a firearm, many smaller cities will not have gone through the steps to have their ordinances brought up to date, and you may have to fight tooth and nail to get the ordinance overturned.
    Back to the main idea though, OC'ing in the country is an excellent way to get practice at OC'ing, and you shouldn't have too much trouble with LEO's at all. Enjoy the weather!!

  5. #5
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    I agree as Agent 1187 said....in a small town your chances of an LEO encounter are much smaller. Also people are likely more accepting of firearms carrying and ownership.

  6. #6
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    Just to echo what others have said - all local firearms laws (that do not specifically deal with discharge) are illegal and void, since 1995. I would, if I were you, call back whoever it was in Green Bay who told you that they had a prohibitive ordinance, and give them an earful.

    Many LEOs in WI have been trained to harass OC, and to threaten with disorderly conduct (which will not hold up in court if the carrying of arms was, in fact, the only thing that allegedly made your conduct disorderly). If I were you, I would take a carry permit class (so you are familiar with the general legalities of carry, even if you cannot get a CCW permit in WI) or study the laws more closely before carrying, as you will, at some point, have an encounter with a less-than-knowledgable LEO.

    I just took off my .45 after coming in from doing yard work this evening. I've never had anyone say anything, and never had any of the police stop to talk to me, and I live in Saukville. I have not carried into any stores or anything like that yet, as I am shopping for a good car pistol safe before doing so (so as to not violate the transportation law).


  7. #7
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    The constitutional amendment Article I section 25 reads: The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other purpose.

    It is important that if we are questioned by a LEO on why we are open carrying that we chose our words carefully. There is no question that open carry is not unlawful, even the Governor has admitted so. In my opinion it is not unlawful for these reasons: The State Supreme Court recognizes that there are but two manners of carry, hidden and visible. The Court has ruled that the concealed carry statute (941.23) is a strict liability statute and that the legislature has not allowed any exceptions including the activities contained in the amendment. The Court also ruled that if the State prosecutes one manner of carry it must provide an alternate manner or yield to the constitutional amendment. Of course the only reasonable alternate manner to concealed carry is open carry. Although the Court has not come right out and said open carry is lawful it's words strongly imply such. However, one never knows when some ambitious district attorney might decide to use one of us as a test case. Many of us would probably argue that we are carrying for self defense. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has taken a very specific interpretation on what constitutes the priviledge of defense. It has ruled that a argument of defense can only be used if one is in imminent danger of great bodily harm. A privilege of self defense was refused in a case where a person was in a high crime area of town at night. He had a flat tire and before he attempted to change the tire he put a handgun in his waistband. He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. He argued he placed the handgun in his waistband for self defense. The Court refused the argument. Ruling that although he was in high crime area he was not in imminent danger. On the other hand the Court has recognized that the activity of security implies a state of perceived danger. In the Courts view there is a very significant difference between the two words defense and security. If confronted with a legal circumstance it would be prudent to never mention the words self defense. It would be much better to use a reason of 'personal protection' or 'personal security', or 'personal safety' or for that matter the words 'any other lawful purpose' . This may seem like a fivilous post but the Wisconsin court sytem is well know for "splitting hairs".

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