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Thread: Madison Police Chief Noble Wray 2009 Legal Update

  1. #1
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    Madison Police Chief Noble Wray 2009 Legal Update

    See Last Paragraph..

    Disorderly Conduct—Visible Weapons
    Wisconsin’s Attorney General recently released an advisory
    memorandum discussing the applicability of the disorderly
    conduct statute to individuals openly carrying firearms. The
    central point of the memorandum was: “mere open carry of a
    firearm, absent additional facts and circumstances, should
    not result in a disorderly conduct charge.” Many have asked
    what impact, if any, this has on MPD officers’ decisions
    when confronted with these types of situations. The short
    answer is that this does not change the way in which MPD
    officers respond to reports of people openly carrying
    firearms. A few points:
    First, it is important to realize that the memorandum is
    advisory only, and is for “educational and informational”
    purposes. It does not in any way restrict the legal authority
    of officers to take action or of individual prosecutors to
    pursue charges.
    Second, the memo only addressed the applicability of the
    disorderly conduct statute to the open carrying of a firearm.
    It did not in any way address any other firearm-related
    statutes.
    Third, the memo confirms that officers in most
    circumstances can stop a person openly carrying a firearm in
    public to investigate possible criminal activity.
    Finally, a close reading of the memo makes it clear that the
    Attorney General’s position is simply that a disorderly
    conduct charge is not automatically appropriate anytime
    someone is openly carrying a firearm. The examples
    provided by the memo illustrate this:
    • “a hunter openly carrying a rifle or shotgun on his property
    during hunting season while quietly tracking game should not
    face a disorderly conduct charge. But if the same hunter
    carries the same rifle or shotgun through a crowded street
    while barking at passerby, the conduct may lose…its
    protection.”
    • “A person openly carrying a holstered handgun on his own
    property while doing lawn work should not face a disorderly
    conduct charge…if, however, a person brandishes a handgun
    in public, the conduct may lose its…protection.”
    So, MPD officers responding to reports of an individual
    openly carrying a firearm should continue to respond as was
    the case prior to this memo’s release. The suspect should
    generally be detained, using proper tactics to ensure officer
    and community safety. Officers should then conduct an
    investigation to determine whether an arrest is appropriate.
    To support a disorderly conduct charge it will continue to be
    necessary to show that the carrying of the firearm—under
    those particular circumstances—was the type of behavior
    that caused, or tends to cause, a disturbance. The location of
    the incident, the behavior of the suspect and the reactions of
    witnesses will all be relevant to this determination.

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran Flipper's Avatar
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    From Wray's document:

    "To support a disorderly conduct charge it will continue to be necessary to show that the carrying of the firearm—under
    those particular circumstances—was the type of behavior that caused, or tends to cause, a disturbance. The location of
    the incident, the behavior of the suspect and the reactions of witnesses will all be relevant to this determination."

    The Five were there for two hours without incident and then on the basis of a person saying she was "uneasy" a determination was made that behavior that tends to cause a disturbance took place???

  3. #3
    Regular Member anmut's Avatar
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    Interesting. The next time I see a guy that's dressed like a thug, i'm going to call 911 because it makes me uneasy. I would then expect the police to come and demand ID from such thug and harass him if he doesn't have it and ultimately give him a disorderly conduct ticket because he caused disorder with his clothing (in my mind).

  4. #4
    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anmut View Post
    Interesting. The next time I see a guy that's dressed like a thug, i'm going to call 911 because it makes me uneasy. I would then expect the police to come and demand ID from such thug and harass him if he doesn't have it and ultimately give him a disorderly conduct ticket because he caused disorder with his clothing (in my mind).
    Ya know, those 'thugs' are especially worrisome when in groups, partially blocking a sidewalk, or strung out line-abreast walking through a mall...
    No tyranny is so irksome as petty tyranny: The officious demands of policemen, government clerks, and electromechanical gadgets. -- Edward Abbey

    • • • Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Faciémus!• • •

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