by Matthew Perenchio
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is not planning to issue an opinion on gun law prosecution following a Supreme Court ruling that prompted Jackson County DA Gerald Fox to forego charging some violators.
The Office of the Attorney General said it has not had any requests seeking an AG opinion on McDonald v. City of Chicago — which struck down the city’s 28-year firearm ban — nor Fox’s subsequent view that the case invalidated several weapon laws.
Fox’s decision made local law enforcement officials choose how they’d handle violations and even prompted some people to question similar ordinances. But Bill Cosh, communications officer with the AG’s office, said no one has sought an opinion, and he added charging decisions are left to district attorneys.
“The attorney general issues formal, public opinions only when a proper request is pending from an official who is entitled to an opinion,” Cosh said. “We do not have any requests of that nature at this time.
“Ultimately, district attorneys are responsible for charging decisions in cases involving violations of Wisconsin’s criminal laws relating to firearms.”
The Supreme Court’s decision last June ruled Chicago’s firearm ban violated the Second Amendment, holding that the amendment restrains the government’s ability to significantly limit that right.
Von Hollen praised the court’s decision after the ruling.
“(The) decision is a victory for those who value liberty. The United States Supreme Court’s opinion in McDonald vindicates every individual’s fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “Adopting the position I joined on behalf of the state of Wisconsin with 37 other states, the court rightly concluded that the right to bear arms is a right that should be protected from unconstitutional governmental interference, whether by the federal government or state governments.”
Fox said the decision means several state laws violate the Second Amendment and impede self-defense, and he will no longer prosecute carrying a concealed weapon, possessing of a firearm in a public building or bar or having an uncased or loaded firearm in a vehicle.
Fox also said he will no longer prosecute possessing switchblade or butterfly knives, but he still will enforce other unlawful uses of weapons, such as the prohibition of felons being armed with a firearm, possessing a firearm while intoxicated, using a firearm to commit a crime and endangering the safety by negligent handling of a weapon.
Fox’s decision has created some confusion and differing support.
The Black River Falls Police Department said it will enforce firearm restrictions through city ordinances, while the sheriff’s department said it still will refer all weapon violations to the DA’s office. County Corporation Counsel Mark Skolos has stated he believes county gun ordinances are still enforceable, which prompted a gun-rights rally outside the courthouse before the August county board meeting.
Assistant DA Melissa Inlow filed switchblade knife possession charges against a Black River Falls man after Fox’s statement, but that charge has since been dismissed.
Although Cosh said no opinion is coming at this time, he said the AG’s office offers district attorneys guidance in respect to the McDonald decision — which is no different than any other time.
“Outside of publicly issued opinions, this office regularly provides guidance to district attorneys on a variety of matters, and it is no different with respect to issues relating to the Second Amendment,” Cosh said.
"Keep and Bear Arms"
Bows, crossbows, swords, battle axes, knives, spears, halberds, rocks and slings, machine guns, cannon, mortars, etc., are all arms in several of the many forms.
The second amendment does NOT specify firearms.
Last edited by OldCurlyWolf; 09-14-2010 at 04:09 AM.
I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do those things to other people and I require the same of them.
Politicians should serve two terms, one in office and one in prison.(borrowed from RioKid)
That's not true, missile/rocket launchers fall under the explosive prohibitions.
Aren't 'explosives' a weapon in the same way a hammer is? What shluld truly surprise a sane person, is that we aren't as outraged about the regulation of explosives as if it were suggested that nails and chain saws be regulated so heavily.... Explosives are more of a tool than a weapon or 'arms' of any kind. But what are 'arms' but tools of defense?
Shhhhhh! Be quiet, man!
Next thing you know, we are going to have to have a permit to carry a concealed hammer. And all hammers being transported in a vehicle will have to have the shaft disassembled from the head. Also, no nails will be allowed in the same compartment of the vehicle as the disassembled hammer, unless those nails are locked into a secure, seperate container.
Additionally, any person who possesses a hammer that weighs more than 16 ounces, or has more than one head and/or one claw, will need to pay a $200 per hammer tax. This is because double headed hammers are very dangerous. Also, possession of any hammer with a rubber grip, or that is painted black, is prohibited. Black hammers and hammers with rubber grips are extra dangerous. Only traditional wood shaft hammers, with metal heads.
Last edited by Phoenixphire; 09-15-2010 at 09:46 AM. Reason: I can't spell....
If you want folks to continue to be dismissive of the 2A, keep talking that it refers explosives. That's what gets us called "gun nuts."
The 2A is clearly referring to the kind of arms that a man might've brought with him to meetings of the militia, to train with them or, God forbid, to fight along with them. That weapon would've had a primarily civilian use (hunting, protection), but could be used, in a pinch, as a military weapon. Today's analogs would include pistols, rifles, and shotguns. One would've also brought ammo and a knife.
Reasonableness is key to winning hearts and minds.