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Thread: My letter to editor published in River Falls Journal

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    For years, citizens have fought for a legal means to exercise their right to bear arms as codified in the state constitution. They’ve been frustrated at every turn by vetoes from Gov. Doyle.


    Denied the option of carrying concealed, the second choice has been to carry openly in an exposed holster, which most agree is not ideal.

    Overzealous police in urban areas have almost universally maintained a policy to arrest those that carry firearms in this manner and charge them with disorderly conduct, in the event that any uninformed or sensitive individual become alarmed at the sight of the firearm.

    These charges are regularly thrown out of court, and, recently, civil rights lawsuits have been brought against these heavy-handed tactics.

    Finally last week, an advisory memo from Attorney General Van Hollen was issued that effectively puts an end to this abusive practice by law enforcement,

    stating that carrying of firearms openly in a holster, barring other circumstances, is not a crime.

    So, good people of River Falls, do not be surprised if you see one of your neighbors packing heat in a public place. Be advised that it is a legal practice statewide except for a few specific types of buildings.

    Most of us would be much happier carrying concealed, but until such time as that becomes a legal option, we will follow the mantra that “a right unexercised is a right lost.”

    I will do it to make a political statement and possibly stimulate some rights-affirming legislative action, since a concealed carry permitting process would be easier on all of us.

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    i agree with most of your letter.. but i dont think concealed carry will be "easier on most of us". with open carry as it is now.. i dont need to take a class, or register as a person carrying a gun.. personally i would be against permits altogether..

    that said: i am all for concealed carry.. some people prefer it. and in some cases i would prefer it also for personal reasons.

    but i do not want to see open carry go away! i see open carry as a more preventative measure and concealed carry as reactive. carring openly lets everyone know that you will not be a victim, concealed you have to pull it out and be ready to use or you will be a victim.

    just my $.02..

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    Anyone is free to disagree with the contents of my letter to the editor. They represent my opinion only. However, my opinion is that open carry is largely about making a statement, and with all the unwelcome attention that goes with it and the possibly school zone felonies that may unwittingly arise, open carry will very rarely be practiced day-to-day by more that an insignificant number of Wisconsinites. Despite the AG opinion, it is still almost a better option, from a risk management standpoint, to carry concealed and face a misdemeanor in the very unlikely event that one is discovered, rather than open carry and face any number of unpleasant consequences. All one has to do is look at the comments on this forum, where many people are still unwilling to OC due toa smallpossibility of an encounter with police, even though they have the law, publicity, and political momentum behind them.

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    beltfedmg wrote:
    Anyone is free to disagree with the contents of my letter to the editor. They represent my opinion only. However, my opinion is that open carry is largely about making a statement, and with all the unwelcome attention that goes with it and the possibly school zone felonies that may unwittingly arise, open carry will very rarely be practiced day-to-day by more that an insignificant number of Wisconsinites. Despite the AG opinion, it is still almost a better option, from a risk management standpoint, to carry concealed and face a misdemeanor in the very unlikely event that one is discovered, rather than open carry and face any number of unpleasant consequences. All one has to do is look at the comments on this forum, where many people are still unwilling to OC due toa smallpossibility of an encounter with police, even though they have the law, publicity, and political momentum behind them.
    I highlighted a few of your statements for further discussion.

    Open carry is our only legal option,I either open carry legally, or I do not carry at all becuase I am not one to go breaking laws. O-C is our only legal option. if I had the privelage to CCW, I would still O-C on several occasions due unique circumstances. I am not going to wear a jacket on a hot day to hide a firearm, No way, No how!

    Why do you feel CCW is a a better option? When carrying a firearm in society, we are not on the offensive! We are on the defensive, So surprise has nothing to do withyour carry method.

    And how do you plan on telling people to Just break the law and carry concelaed and face the fines and charges when open carry is a protected right? I feel you have it backwards.

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    Nutczak wrote:
    beltfedmg wrote:
    Anyone is free to disagree with the contents of my letter to the editor. They represent my opinion only. However, my opinion is that open carry is largely about making a statement, and with all the unwelcome attention that goes with it and the possibly school zone felonies that may unwittingly arise, open carry will very rarely be practiced day-to-day by more that an insignificant number of Wisconsinites. Despite the AG opinion, it is still almost a better option, from a risk management standpoint, to carry concealed and face a misdemeanor in the very unlikely event that one is discovered, rather than open carry and face any number of unpleasant consequences. All one has to do is look at the comments on this forum, where many people are still unwilling to OC due toa smallpossibility of an encounter with police, even though they have the law, publicity, and political momentum behind them.
    I highlighted a few of your statements for further discussion.

    Open carry is our only legal option,I either open carry legally, or I do not carry at all becuase I am not one to go breaking laws. O-C is our only legal option. if I had the privelage to CCW, I would still O-C on several occasions due unique circumstances. I am not going to wear a jacket on a hot day to hide a firearm, No way, No how!

    Why do you feel CCW is a a better option? When carrying a firearm in society, we are not on the offensive! We are on the defensive, So surprise has nothing to do withyour carry method.

    And how do you plan on telling people to Just break the law and carry concelaed and face the fines and charges when open carry is a protected right? I feel you have it backwards.


    Well, I'm sure this has all been hashed out to death, but to beat a dead horse:

    Concealed carry is better because even with a small number of people taking advantage of it, the bad guys don't know who might be carrying, so everyone gets the deterrent benefit, not just those who do carry. I carry concealed every day in Minnesota, and it is fantastic. I wouldn't have it any other way. The toothless "no guns" signs that are posted in MN have even less effect when concealed. My motto is "signs won't stop psychos" so why should they stop me? Harder to follow that philosophy while OC.

    OC should be used as a stepping stone to CCW in Wisconsin. Otherwise it is quitea hollowvictory.

    And I don't have to change my manner of dress at all to carry concealed. You can carry a Kel-tec P3AT in any garment that has a pocket without even producing a bulge. Probably applies to the PF-9 or the Ruger LCP, just the same.

    P.S. I posted this to encourage others to write letters to their editors, not to get a ration of @#$% for it. I advise you should write an opposing viewpoint to the editor of the River Falls Journal to debate the finer points of my reasoning. That would be something else, two gun carry advocates arguing over these minutiae on the opinion page of the paper.



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    Hey beltfed, Good letter and hello to a fellow border person. I live in Ellsworth near Red Wing. I have started OCing in my neighborhood and am considering starting to do the same in Hudson and River Falls. I am also in the process of writing a letter to the Pierce County Herald.
    I was also thinking it's time to get the paperwork for a suppressor and SBR and find out how my Sheriff is going to behave.

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    ScottM wrote:
    Hey beltfed, Good letter and hello to a fellow border person. I live in Ellsworth near Red Wing. I have started OCing in my neighborhood and am considering starting to do the same in Hudson and River Falls. I am also in the process of writing a letter to the Pierce County Herald.
    I was also thinking it's time to get the paperwork for a suppressor and SBR and find out how my Sheriff is going to behave.
    Cool. I am a FFL/SOT, so when it comes time to buy that suppressor, let me know, and I will be of whatever service I can. I never had a problem getting signoffs from Everett Muhlhausen, but I don't have any experience with Nancy.

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    Article I section 25: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose". Do you see anything in that statement that addresses a manner of carry? The bottom line is that the manner of carry should be an election by the person carrying. Why should concealed carry or open carry be superior than the other? Our constitutional rights saykeepand bear. There is no mention of how.

    Our constitutional right to keep and bear arms will not be complete until whether a person open carries or conceal carries is an option of the person doing so, not a dictate by the legislature or law enforcement. I for one will not support a concealed weapon law if it contains any additional restrictions and requirements than our current open carry rights. The answer is not a new concealed carry law it is the repeal of the existing concealed carry law. At least one SSC justice agrees the existing concealed carry statute is unconstitutional.(Crooks) [Paragraph 100 in State v.Hamdan].

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    Lammie wrote:
    Article I section 25: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose". Do you see anything in that statement that addresses a manner of carry? The bottom line is that the manner of carry should be an election by the person carrying. Why should concealed carry or open carry be superior than the other? Our constitutional rights saykeepand bear. There is no mention of how.

    Our constitutional right to keep and bear arms will not be complete until whether a person open carries or conceal carries is an option of the person doing so, not a dictate by the legislature or law enforcement. I for one will not support a concealed weapon law if it contains any additional restrictions and requirements than our current open carry rights. The answer is not a new concealed carry law it is the repeal of the existing concealed carry law. At least one SSC justice agrees the existing concealed carry statute is unconstitutional.(Crooks) [Paragraph 100 in State v.Hamdan].
    Nobody is suggesting that OC be made illegal in some negotiation for CCW. Rather, I'm suggesting that if presented the choice, most would CCW rather than OC, thus not alarming the local sheep and perturbing the constabulary. Those that like alarming the sheep and perturbing the constabulary could continue to do so to their hearts' content.

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    beltfedmg wrote:
    Lammie wrote:
    Article I section 25: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose". Do you see anything in that statement that addresses a manner of carry? The bottom line is that the manner of carry should be an election by the person carrying. Why should concealed carry or open carry be superior than the other? Our constitutional rights saykeepand bear. There is no mention of how.

    Our constitutional right to keep and bear arms will not be complete until whether a person open carries or conceal carries is an option of the person doing so, not a dictate by the legislature or law enforcement. I for one will not support a concealed weapon law if it contains any additional restrictions and requirements than our current open carry rights. The answer is not a new concealed carry law it is the repeal of the existing concealed carry law. At least one SSC justice agrees the existing concealed carry statute is unconstitutional.(Crooks) [Paragraph 100 in State v.Hamdan].
    Nobody is suggesting that OC be made illegal in some negotiation for CCW. Rather, I'm suggesting that if presented the choice, most would CCW rather than OC, thus not alarming the local sheep and perturbing the constabulary. Those that like alarming the sheep and perturbing the constabulary could continue to do so to their hearts' content.
    it seems that you are forgetting that we do not have an option to conceal carry, WE CAN ONLY OPEN-CARRY. So there is no other legal choice when it comes to being armed.

    I also would like to have CCW provisions in this state, But Gov. Doyle has proven 3 times already that it will not happen while he is in office! if we do finally get CCW provisions, I hope it does not affect our protected right to carry openly.

    Arizona has had lawful open carry forever! Do you se people fleeing that state becuase of an unnatural fear of firearms? How about the 44 other states where open carry is legal. I do not see people fleeing from there to move to a state like FL that does not allow open carry.

    This forum is aptly named "Open carry.Org" It is not named "Concealed carry" so I'll give youone free guess as to what type of carry we support.

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    I don't know where you're coming from, honestly. I'm never going to stop pushing for CCW, and if recent developments can be used in any way as a jumpstart, I'm going to take advantage of that. You seem to be anti-CCW, which I don't understand. This whole discussion is kind of a downer, so I'm not going to continue it. I don't see itas productive. Thanks everybody for crapping in my thread, though.

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    Would you support a Vermont style CC?

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    Those that like alarming the sheep and perturbing the constabulary could continue to do so to their hearts' content.
    I think "alarming the sheep" is one of the many many "gun myths".

    I've been OC'ing a half-dozen times in the past 2 weeks in many many very public places. 2 different Pick n Save grocery stores, Gas Station, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot. No one was alarmed.

    I've observed others OC'ing many many places and no one was alarmed.

    Take Brad Krause's case. The gentleman who called the police even stated under oath that he wasn't "distrubed" but he just wondered if it was illegal.

    We now have dozens of people OC'ing around Wisconsin (that we know of on this board) and I have yet to hear one instance of anyone being alarmed.

    Perhaps over the years with all the anti-gun hysteria in the media, we've come to assume people will be alarmed when they won't. I'll be honest, I think we may have underestimated the capacity of people to "deal"with the plain sight of a holstered firearm.

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    I think you are correct not only because of your observations in actually carrying openly, but have you noticed how quiet the media is now on open carry? Have you noticed a total absence of furor and outcry against open carry in the letters to the editor? I think Wisconsin's citizens are ok with it. It was the LEOs that opposed it not your average citizen. I think any assault on our rights will come from Madison, not our fellow citizens.

    I have noticed that many of the proponents of conceal carry are firearm instructors. Follow the money. I would hate to see a conceal carry that involves training, permitting, fingerprinting, photographing, testing and then those permitted would be subject to open records so anyone could find out who has a permit.

    If I can open carry without any of that, why should I not be able to conceal carry without any of that?



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    Thats the biggest problem i have had with the CCW crowd.. dont get me wrong.. id love the choice.. but i dont want all the "extras" that go with it..



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    It was the LEOs that opposed it not your average citizen. I think any assault on our rights will come from Madison, not our fellow citizens.
    Absolutely!

    Cops want to be the only ones with power. Cops want to be the ones in control. Cops want you to call them when there is a problem. after all "they think they are the law"

    It must be some kind of "control" thing. Maybe they are just so brainwashed dealing with criminals their whole career to know that most people (unlike what they deal with daily) are not criminals. Clearly they don't trust people. And thats a shame.

    But at the end of the day, cops can already protect themselves. Cops are already a "priviliged class" because they can already carry concealled weapons. They would rather be the only ones with guns and ride in lights and sirens to take control of a situation rather than have the average person be able to take care of themselves (if need be)

    How many times do you hear cops discouraging citizens from acting against criminals? ALL the time. I think that has promoted a culture of victims. A open playing field for criminals.
    I have noticed that many of the proponents of conceal carry are firearm instructors. Follow the money.
    BINGO!

    I actually had a phone call from someone who will remain annonymous (though I don't think he deserves his annonymity) a couple days after the AG's memo who asked me to "lay low for 3 weeks" Not open carry, not do television interviews. I was shocked! We finally had media interested and this person who was suppose to be an advocate asks me to "lay low for 3 weeks????" Then I saw that person on the news and guess what. THEY just became a "certified firearms instructor" HMMMMMMM??????

    Its always funny how quickly people will sacrifice their principles when personal gain is involved.

    Its always funny to see how quickly people run to the government to pass laws that will line THEIR pockets.

    Thats the sad part about the freedom train. Everybody jumps on board and says they are riding it to the end, but most jump off somewhere along the line when either self-interest, money, or fear overcomes logic and principle.



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    What was the purpose in asking you to "lay low"?

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    hugh jarmis wrote:
    How many times do you hear cops discouraging citizens from acting against criminals? ALL the time. I think that has promoted a culture of victims. A open playing field for criminals.
    Right on! how many times have you heard them to just "hand over the money and they will leave you alone"?

    and they wonder why crime is happening? ITS TOO EASY! and IT DOES PAY! VERY WELL! hell 20 mins of "work" and your up $100!

    the only argument against carrying is the fact that the homeless rate will go up because we keep our money.. :P



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    beltfedmg wrote:
    I don't know where you're coming from, honestly. I'm never going to stop pushing for CCW, and if recent developments can be used in any way as a jumpstart, I'm going to take advantage of that. You seem to be anti-CCW, which I don't understand.
    I am not against Concealed carry, it is just not an option in the state of Wisconsin, so why continue to push it?
    I carried concealed for 7 years in another state. I found it to be a royal pain in my a$$ to make sure my firearm was not visible at any time so I would not get cited and need to pay a fine if my holster accidentally became visible. I am re-applying for my CCW in that stateso when I travel I can still be armed in states that do not allow open carry.

    The main objective here is keeping our right to bear arms, and since WI is "Open Carry Only" that is my main objective as a WI resident. if and when CCW provisions come through the legislature again, I will only be ok with that as long as open carry does not become illegal. We should have the option to do either. I feel if you can legally own a gun, it is your choice on method of carry without needing to ask permission and offer fingerprints and mugshots.

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    What was the purpose in asking you to "lay low"?
    something about letting the 'legislative process' work.

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    Beltfedmg:

    This is a repost of one I made April 6, 2007. I think it expresses where many of us are coming from.



    Concealed Carry or Open carry in Wisconsin?

    Article 1 chapter 25:
    The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.

    Article 1 chapter 26:
    The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.

    Statute 66.0409(2):
    No political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possesion, bearing, transportation, licensing. permitting, registration, or taxation of any firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same or similar to and no more stringent than, a state statute.

    State v Hamdan (2003):
    The supreme court held that not withstanding Article 1 chapter 25 the state has the authority to regulate the manner of carry of firearms therefore the concelaed carry prohibition statute 941.23 was constitutional. The Court also said there were two manners of carry, visible and hidden. The court also declared that if the state intends to prosecute against one manner of carry it must provide for a resonable alternative or yield to the ammendment. The court said that if a person is carrying a firearm for a lawful purpose the burden is on the state to prove it was carried for an unlawful (criminal) purpose. Note: This would tend to "shoot down" the disorderly conduct theory.

    State v Hamdan (2003)
    The State prosecuters argued that if Hamdan had been wearing his firearm in a holster (visible) he would not have been charged. Governor Doyle was Attorney General at that time and a member of the prosecution.

    Governor Doyle's comment as recorded by the Wisconsin Dells Events paper dated March11 2006:
    "If you want to carry a gun. Wear it on your hip".

    What is significant about the above information?

    First:They all support in various degrees the right to open carry firearms in the state of Wisconsin.

    Second: They destroy the local ordinance "disorderly conduct" theory. The State doesn't consider the peaceful carry of a firearm as disorderly conduct, therefore, statute 66.0409(2) prohibits local political subdivisions from doing so.

    Third: They are all relatively new. All happened after 1995.

    Fourth: In regards to open carry they may in combination endow the citizens of Wisconsin with the most liberal firearm carry and ownership rights in the nation.

    So, Open carry or concealed carry? What are the pros and cons?

    The pros and cons as I see them.

    Open carry pros:

    . No license requirements. No costly certification requirements. No renewal requirements, Few retricted locations.
    1. You can't carry in a school zone unless you live there or are conducting a training class where firearms are required.
    2. You can't open carry a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle. 167.31(2)(b).
    3. You can't open carry in a goverment building. 941.235.
    4. You can't carry a loaded firearm in a place that sells on sale alcohol.

    Open carry cons:

    Public discomfort.
    No background checks.

    Open carry personal restrictions:

    A person with a handgun must be of legal age. Must not be a convicted felon. Must not be charged with domestic abuse or violence.

    Concealed carry pros:

    Public comfort.
    Background check.

    Concealed carry cons: (Information from recently failed Personal Protection Act)

    License requirement ($75). Certification classes ($150 - $300). Renewal requirement. Numerous restrictions on carry locations. Carry restrictions at proprietor discretion. Discriminates based on ability to pay.

    Concealed carry personal restrictions.

    Must be 21 years of age. Must not be a convicted felon. Must not be charged with domestic abuse or violence. Must have a CCW license. Must have evidence of certification training.

    Conclusion.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the information I cited at the beginning of this post establishes the free right of Wisconsin citizens to open carry firearms for their personal protection. Unfortunately under current social environment doing so would probably make the general public uneasy. I have to admit I would myself feel uneasy if I saw a large number of people walking around with firearms on their hips. That is the one thing concealed carry has going for it "Out of sight. Out of mind." I would not object to some reasonably priced and restricted concealed weapon privilege for those who wish to obtain a permit. I would only accept it on the conditions that it is written as a priviledge and not a right (For example: A drivers license gives one the privlege to drive. Not the right to drive). A privlege may have a price associated with it however, our constitutional rights are priceless. The other condition I have is that a concealed carry statute in no way pre-empts or restricts our current right to open carry. I will in no way sell out my rights just to get on the concealed carry band wagon. I have too many relatives that gave their lives fighting for our rights.

    There is one thing that any movement or comittee that intends to resurect the concealed carry initiative should keep in mind. The road to tyranny is built one brick at a time.

    The now deceased Personal Protection Act was championed by a number of well meaning, very dedicated individuals that spent many years shedding blood, sweat, tears and dollars.trying to get concealed carry passed. a movement that started before the ammendments and statutes I referenced above were made into law. Unfortunately they were too close to the issue and never stepped back to see what was happening to our firearm laws right under their noses. They were so obsessed and certain of winning that they gave up too many concessions in order to win political support and they were so sure of winning they refused to "upset the apple cart"and modify the bill. I know. I had numerous conversations with WCCA, Rep Gunderson's man Mike Bruhn and Senator Zien on the subject.

    By not recognizing the significance of the changes our firearm rights were going through it's my opinion they made the tactical error of not playing the Open vs Concealed card. I think that if many of the political opponents were faced with the choice between many people walking around with visible firearms with few restrictions and people carrying concealed firearms with numerous restrictions they would have chosen the later and the governor's veto would have been easily overridden.




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