Yes we are aware of point (1). This is something that the DA's office made very clear to us. While the "knowingly" threshold is a burden certainly for conviction
, this statute gives us a greater ability to stop, temporarily detain, and ask some pointed questions that we otherwise would not be able to do absent the school zone. While a subject may use ignorance as a defense, an order-in of such cases would seem appropriate. Gun gets seized and the DA can make a charging decision. With close to 400 schools in the city, it's unreasonable to go armed in a residential neighborhood and not know you're close to a school of some sort.
I know this isn’t the most solid ground to stand on, but we're struggling with intervention options short of violating the law / Constitution ourselves.
Lieutenant Gary J. Gacek
Milwaukee Police Department | Office of Management, Analysis and Planning
749 W. State Street #714C – 53233 | 414-935-7918 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 4:48 PM
To: Gacek, Gary
Subject: Re: Open Carry Analysis & Gun Free School Zone Statute
I took another look at the Gun-Free School Zone stat. 948.605 and the Criminal Jury Instructions for that felony. This may not be the silver bullet some people think it is.
(1.) One of the elements that the cops must have for arrest is probable cause (beyond a reasonable doubt at trial) "that the defendant knew or had reasonable cause to believe that he possessed a firearm in a school zone."
(Criminal Jury Instructions) I surmise that the further away from the school (999 feet or around several blocks away from the school, the harder it will be to prove that the open carrier knew he was in a school zone. I further surmise that this would be a key question to ask the carrier BEFORE an arrest was made. (I wonder what Chisholm's charging policy is on this point of knowledge of being inside the 1,000 feet.)
(2.) This felony offense also applies to off-duty coppers per Wis. Stat.
948.605 (2)(b)6 which requires that the copper is "acting in his or her official capacity;"
If I go to watch my kid at the playground or for an athletic event on a school field, I cannot lawfully carry a firearm while doing so off duty because I am not really acting in my official capacity as a cop, only as a parent. This is something I have tried to change for several sessions of the legislature but to no avail. I am trying again in this session through the Waukesha County delegation.
This gun-free zone statute first emerged in 1991, long before 9-11 and world terrorism. It should no longer apply to off-duty cops. Just thought I would share this for whatever it's worth.
Dean J. Collins
Assistant Chief of Police
City of Brookfield Police Dept.
2100 N. Calhoun Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53005-5054
Fax: (262) 796-6701
05/04/2009 02:23 <email@example.com>
<<Training Bulletin 2009-02 Package.pdf>>
Lieutenant Gary J. Gacek
Office of Management, Analysis and Planning Milwaukee Police Department
749 W. State Street #714C - 53233
414-935-7918 | firstname.lastname@example.org
[attachment "Training Bulletin 2009-02 Package.pdf" deleted by Dean Collins/Brookfield]