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Thread: Wisconsin's 20 largest cities

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    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    I conducted an informal survey of the local ordinances of the 20 largest cities in Wisconsin to see how many continue to have ordinances on their books impacting open carry which are clearly preempted by state statute (i.e., invalid and unenforceable.)

    Note: I looked primarily for ordinances that would involve open carry per se. Be aware that some municipalities have other ordinances that are also preempted under the state's firearms preemption statute: Madison is a perfect example because it has preempted ordinances regarding "barbed bullets" "short barrel handguns" etc.

    I have cited the particular chapter, title or section of the preempted local ordinance for reference. Here is what I found for the largest 20 cities in Wisconsin, by order of population:

    1) Milwaukee (596974): 105.34 (1)(b)

    2) Madison (208054): 25.01(7)

    3) Green Bay (102313): 27.604(3)(a)

    4) Kenosha (90352): Nothing prohibiting open carry. [Note: City ordinance does prohibit carrying a concealed "pea shooter!"] :quirky

    5) Racine (81855): 66-58

    6) Appleton (70087): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    7) Waukesha (64825): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    8) Oshkosh (62916): 17-3(A) [Note: Somewhat ambiguous wording of this ordinance. One might plausibly argue it only prohibits concealed weapons, but it appears to prohibit both open and concealed by my interpretation.]

    9) Eau Claire (61704): 9.32.040(F) [Note: requires firearms to be unloaded and encased.]

    10) West Allis (61254): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    11) Janesville (59498): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    12) La Crosse (51818): 7.01(B)

    13) Sheboygan (50792): 70-252 and 70-253

    14) Wauwatosa (47271): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    15) Fond du Lac (42203): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    16) Brookfield (38649): 9.28.010 [Note: requires firearms to be unloaded and knocked down, or encased.]

    17) Wausau (38426): 9.08.010(a)

    18) New Berlin (38220): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    19) Beloit (35775): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    20) Greenfield (35476): 10.01


    So, it appears that 11 of the 20 largest cities fail to be in compliance with state law. If I have missed anything, please submit a correction!

    I am perhaps a little surprised that 9 cities are in compliance. I expected maybe 3 or 4.

    Edited 10/27 to include populations as of last official census.

    The next 20 largest cities (added 10/27/08)

    21) Manitowoc (34053): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    22) Menomonee Falls (32647): Section 62-87

    23) Franklin (29494): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    24) Oak Creek (28456): 11.21(b) [Note: Although this section of the ordinance is entitled "concealed weapons in public establishments" it appears to prohibit all firearms that are "readily accessible" in "a business establishment open to the public."

    25) West Bend (28152): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    26) Superior (27368): 86-74(b)

    27) Stevens Point (24551): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    28) Neenah (24507): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    29) Mequon (21823): 46-107

    30) Watertown (21598): 11.32

    31) Muskego (21598): 9.01(1)(a)

    32) South Milwaukee (21256): Nothing prohibiting open carry. :celebrate

    33) De Pere (20559): 142.2

    34) Fitchburg (20501): Nothing prohibiting open carry. [Note: City ordinances are not available online. I called the city clerk and was referred to the police department, which tried to refer me back to the clerk's office :? but was told by PD that there is no city ordinance regarding the bearing of firearms and that one "just needs to follow state law."

    35) Sun Prairie (20369): 9.32.010

    36) Marshfield (18800): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    37) Wisconsin Rapids (18435): 25.12

    38) Cudahy (18429): 9.02(2)(a)

    39) Germantown (18260): Nothing prohibiting open carry.

    40) Ashwaubenon (17634): 9.02(1)

    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Shotgun wrote:
    So, it appears that 11 of the 20 largest cities fail to be in compliance with state law.
    I respectfully disagree, as I can find nothing in state law that says the ordinance must "come off" the books. I believe state statute simply says such ordinances cannot be enforced.

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    16) Brookfield: 9.28.010 [Note: requires firearms to be unloaded and knocked down, or encased.]
    I've talked to Brookfield PD in recent months regarding open carry in their city. They tell me that unless you have a “Blue Card” issued by the state, they will arrest you. Brookfield does enforce ALL their ordnances.

    Give 'em a call and ask for yourself. (262) 787-3700

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    Bunker wrote:
    16) Brookfield:* 9.28.010 [Note:* requires firearms to be unloaded and knocked down, or encased.]
    I've talked to Brookfield PD in recent months regarding open carry in their city. They tell me that unless you have a “Blue Card” issued by the state, they will arrest you. Brookfield does enforce ALL their ordnances.

    Give 'em a call and ask for yourself.* (262) 787-3700
    So what? If the police choose to break the law, see where it gets them.
    Why don't you call the Brookfield city attorney and see what he says.

    For somebody who is a self-proclaimed "investigator" you have a piss poor understanding of the law and investigative techniques.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    bnhcomputing wrote:
    Shotgun wrote:
    So, it appears that 11 of the 20 largest cities fail to be in compliance with state law.
    I respectfully disagree, as I can find nothing in state law that says the ordinance must "come off" the books.* I believe state statute simply says such ordinances cannot be enforced.
    No, it says nothing about "cannot be enforced." The language reads "no political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution."

    To "enact" means "to establish by legal and authoritative act." If those ordinances are on the books, they are enacted. Therefore, those municipalities are not in compliance with state law.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Bunker wrote:
    they allow open carry in Milwaukee and the surrounding communities....
    He has SEEN the light,

    HAL - LE - LU - JAH! HAL - LE - LU - JAH!

    HAL-LE - LU-JAH! HAL-LE - LU-JAH! HAL - LE - LE-JAH!


    http://opencarry.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=13713&forum_id=57&highli ght=bunker

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Shotgun wrote:
    bnhcomputing wrote:
    Shotgun wrote:
    So, it appears that 11 of the 20 largest cities fail to be in compliance with state law.
    I respectfully disagree, as I can find nothing in state law that says the ordinance must "come off" the books. I believe state statute simply says such ordinances cannot be enforced.
    No, it says nothing about "cannot be enforced." The language reads "no political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution."

    To "enact" means "to establish by legal and authoritative act." If those ordinances are on the books, they are enacted. Therefore, those municipalities are not in compliance with state law.
    66.0409(4)(b)
    (b) If a political subdivision has in effect on November 17, 1995, an ordinance or resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, 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, and the ordinance or resolution is not the same as or similar to a state statute, the ordinance or resolution shall have no legal effect and the political subdivision may not enforce the ordinance or resolution on or after November 18, 1995.

    Again, I see nothing in the statute that stipulates the ordinance must be removed.

    If I have missed something, please enlighten me.



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    You're right.

    But let me put it this way. If the state enacted a law that said "No one may place Yosemite Sam mudflaps on an 18-wheeler, would you say "my mudflaps don't have to be removed because they're already there?"


    The state law has already effectively removed such ordinances. They're like blank pages in the ordinance books.


    Right Bunker?

    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Bunker wrote:
    Brookfield does enforce ALL their ordnances.
    What does military material have to do with it?


    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Respectfully, No.

    They're pages that allow you, an individual, to acquire standing and pay to erase. You may be convicted of a preempted local ordinance and required to pay the fine. You will be relieved only if the appeal is successful.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Respectfully, No.

    They're pages that allow you, an individual, to acquire standing and pay to erase. You may be convicted of a preempted local ordinance and required to pay the fine. You will be relieved only if the appeal is successful.
    I know. I was just messing with a stubborn person who needs to be de-bunked a little.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Doug, Shotgun:

    Am I to understand that both of you feel these municipalities with these ordinances could indeed charge and convict for an ordinance violation, even though statute says it may NOT be enforced?

    I would stipulate that arrest is certainly possible, as one can be arrested for almost anything but aswe have it in writing from the City Attorney in Eau Claire that the ordinance cannot be enforced, and has not been enforced since 1995, changes would be met with an immediate motion to dismiss.

    I am not a lawyer either, but once the judge is looking at the dismissal motion, he/she would either have to dismiss, or override 66.0409(4)(b).

    As far as conviction, can either of you show a single case where an individual was convicted, not a guilty plea, but actually convicted of a local municipality ordinance violation?

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    bnhcomputing wrote:
    Doug, Shotgun:

    Am I to understand that both of you feel these municipalities with these ordinances could indeed charge and convict for an ordinance violation, even though statute says it may NOT be enforced?

    I would stipulate that arrest is certainly possible, as one can be arrested for almost anything but aswe have it in writing from the City Attorney in Eau Claire that the ordinance cannot be enforced, and has not been enforced since 1995, changes would be met with an immediate motion to dismiss.

    I am not a lawyer either, but once the judge is looking at the dismissal motion, he/she would either have to dismiss, or override 66.0409(4)(b).

    As far as conviction, can either of you show a single case where an individual was convicted, not a guilty plea, but actually convicted of a local municipality ordinance violation?
    My opinion? Anything is possible, but I would say the chances of a conviction are practically zero. So low that I would not be concerned in the least. Anyone who got convicted of violating a local ordinance for mere OC in a area not prohibited by state law would be foolish not to file an appeal (and subsequent lawsuit.)
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    IANAL Charge and conviction is the only way to gain standing for appeal in higher court to make its stare decisis/case law effective on the lower municipal court.

    Hypothetically the judge'll say "I don't work for those people, I work for the people of my town or county."

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    Founder's Club Member bnhcomputing's Avatar
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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    IANAL Charge and conviction is the only way to gain standing for appeal in higher court to make its stare decisis/case law effective on the lower municipal court.

    Hypothetically the judge'll say "I don't work for those people, I work for the people of my town or county."
    Now I'll disagree with this statement as well. If a judge gets overturned/appealed all the time, they will quickly find themselves working in the private sector again.

    I do not believe you can find a case whereby any judge has ruled against the preemption statute.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    IANAL Charge and conviction is the only way to gain standing for appeal in higher court to make its stare decisis/case law effective on the lower municipal court.
    Stare decisis is probably not applicable since the black letter law is clear.

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    Madison repealed their ordinance..see:

    "Sec. 25.01(11), MGO, purports to ban the purchase and sale of handguns and handgun ammunition within the City. The City no longer has the authority to adopt such an ordinance, pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0409. The subsection is repealed by this ordinance"


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    West Milwaukee has no ordinance saying that you can't openly carrying. I even spoke with the Police chief, who said there was no ordinance on the books.

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    gdyslin wrote:
    Madison repealed their ordinance..see:

    "Sec. 25.01(11), MGO, purports to ban the purchase and sale of handguns and handgun ammunition within the City. The City no longer has the authority to adopt such an ordinance, pursuant to Wis. Stat. sec. 66.0409. The subsection is repealed by this ordinance"

    I beg to differ. The ordinance still appears on the books. Explain why you think they've repealed it.

    In fact, the city continues to have a de facto ban on the commercial sales of handguns by use of their zoning ordinance which makes it virtually impossible to find a place within the city that meets all of the requirements. This is probably one of the primary reasons that Gander Mountain closed both stores and moved outside of the city. They wanted to sell handguns but not fight city hall to do so. Particularly ballsy on the part of the city is the language which dictates where handgun shops can be located in adjacent municipalities. Here's the zoning language:

    Section 28.10(4)(c)59. Handgun shop, subject to the following conditions:
    a. Such shop shall be located in a building of Type 5 construction as
    defined in ILHR 51.03(5), Wisconsin Administrative Code.
    b. No handgun shop shall be located within 1000 feet of any church,
    synagogue, temple, mosque or any other place of worship, any lot in a
    residence district, either in the City of Madison or in a municipality
    adjacent to the City of Madison, any of the following planned
    developments which allow residential dwelling units: planned
    community development, planned unit development, and planned
    community mobile home parks; any public park, any private or public
    elementary, secondary or vocational school, any public or private
    playground, any day care center, any public library, any youth recreation
    area including little league baseball fields, soccer fields, or
    YMCA/YWCA.
    c. No handgun shop shall be located in the same detached building where
    alcohol beverages are sold.
    d. No handgun shop shall be located in the same detached building where
    any patron thereof under the age of 18 years may enter, unless
    accompanied by a parent, guardian or adult spouse 18 years of age or
    over.

    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    shernandez wrote:
    West Milwaukee has no ordinance saying that you can't openly carrying. I even spoke with the Police chief, who said there was no ordinance on the books.
    I believe that's what I reported above.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    sorry I missed it.

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    Not a problem. It's particularly noteworthy that the municipality that messed with Parabellum does not even have so much as an invalid local ordinance to fall back on.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    I know that interested me greatly. DC is a slippery slope.

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    Shotgun wrote:
    Handgun shop, subject to the following conditions:
    a. Such shop shall be located in a building of Type 5 construction as
    defined in ILHR 51.03(5), Wisconsin Administrative Code.
    I've been trying to find out what this is referring to, but since there is no "ILHR 51.03(5) any longer, it's difficult. The Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations" became the Department of Workforce Development, but the "Safety and Buildings Division was moved to the Department of Commerce around that same time. The city has not bothered to update it's code, so it's referencing a now non-existent administrative code. As far as I can tell ILHR 51.03(5) probably had something to do with the fire code, or maybe even the storage of explosives. Either way, it's a bit odd that the city would somehow think that a handgun shop would require particularly stringent code that isn't also required of shops that only sell long guns. If nothing else, it demonstrates the city's paranoia and the unreasonable lengths to which they resorted to assure that no handgun shops would crop up in Madison. Why they believe that zoning ordinances regarding the sale of firearms are not also subject to 66.0409 is a mystery.
    A. Gold

    Failure to comply may result in discipline up to and including termination.
    The free man is a warrior. - Nietzsche "Twilight of the Idols"

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    ilbob wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    IANAL Charge and conviction is the only way to gain standing for appeal in higher court to make its stare decisis/case law effective on the lower municipal court.
    Stare decisis is probably not applicable since the black letter law is clear.
    In Wisconsin Statutes, stare decisis is incorporated in statute law as 'annotations', even in the Wisconsin Constitution...

    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/wisconst.pdf
    Right to keep and bear arms. SECTION 25. [As created Nov. 1998] The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose. [1995 J.R. 27, 1997 J.R. 21, vote November 1998] The state constitutional right to bear arms is fundamental, but it is not absolute. This section does not affect the reasonable regulation of guns. The standard of review for challenges to statutes allegedly in violation of this section is whether the statute is a reasonable exercise of police power. State v. Cole, 2003 WI 112, 264 Wis. 2d 520, 665 N.W.2d 328, 01−0350. The concealed weapons statute is a restriction on the manner in which firearms are possessed and used. It is constitutional under Art. I, s. 25. Only if the public benefit in the exercise of the police power is substantially outweighed by an individual’s need to conceal a weapon in the exercise of the right to bear arms will an otherwise valid restriction on that right be unconstitutional. The right to keep and bear arms for security, as a general matter, must permit a person to possess, carry, and sometimes conceal arms to maintain the security of a private residence or privately operated business, and to safely move and store weapons within those premises. State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433, 665 N.W.2d 785, 01−0056. A challenge on constitutional grounds of a prosecution for carrying a concealed weapon requires affirmative answers to the following before the defendant may raise the constitutional defense: 1) under the circumstances, did the defendant’s interest in concealing the weapon to facilitate exercise of his or her right to keep and bear arms substantially outweigh the state’s interest in enforcing the concealed weapons statute? and 2) did the defendant conceal his or her weapon because concealment was the only reasonable means under the circumstances to exercise his or her right to bear arms? State v. Hamdan, 2003 WI 113, 264 Wis. 2d 433, 665 N.W.2d 785, 01−0056. Under both Hamdan and Cole there are 2 places in which a citizen’s desire to exercise the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of security is at its apex: in the citizen’s home or in his or her privately−owned business. It logically and necessarily follows that the individual’s interest in the right to bear arms for purposes of security will not, as a general matter, be particularly strong outside those two locations. An individual generally has no heightened interest in his or her right to bear arms for security while in a vehicle. State v. Fisher, 2006 WI 44, 290 Wis. 2d 121, 714 N.W.2d 495, 04−2989. The most natural reading of “keep arms” in the 2nd Amendment is to have weapons. The natural meaning of “bear arms” is to “wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.” Putting all textual elements together, the 2nd amendment guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. However, like most rights, the right secured by the 2nd Amendment is not unlimited. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. ___, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637, 128 S. Ct. 2783, (2008)
    Or will you teach me that these are not? Note the inclusion of so recent an addition as DC v. Heller.

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