Tuesday, February 17, 2009 7:47 PM CST

WEST ALLIS, Wis. - A West Allis municipal judge said a resident was within his rights to carry a gun while planting a tree on his property.

Judge Paul Murphy found Brad Krause not guilty Tuesday of disorderly conduct in a case that has drawn the interest of gun rights advocates.

"The reason people are upset about this is it's not about guns. It's about civil liberties. And we obviously have a property issue," Krause said after the hearing. "There was no warrant issued, no exigent circumstances, no permission to enter the property, yet the police stormed in with guns drawn and put my life at risk.

"My wife was very worried that she would be a widow in short order because I was planting a tree."

A message left for West Allis Police Chief Mike Jungbluth by The Associated Press was not immediately returned. West Allis City Attorney Scott Post declined to comment.

Police responded to Krause's home in August after a neighbor called to ask about the legality of him openly carrying a hand gun in a holster on his property. Police arrested Krause, ticketing him for disorderly conduct. Police also seized his gun.

"The big overarching issue is whether open carry is legal," Krause's attorney Steven Cain said. "The law in Wisconsin really only limits concealed carry. The law in Wisconsin, as we see it, is that open carry is absolutely legal, protected, and should be."

Krause declined to explain why he was carrying a gun to plant a tree.

"There's no requirement to justify why you're able to exercise constitutional rights," Krause said. "I and everyone else are able to go to church, they're able to vote, they're able to speak their mind. Even though the city might not like it, we have that right."

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,