A Germantown, Wisconsin man was accosted by police for exercising his rights on Saturday. William Polster was carrying a holstered pistol and a shotgun (with a pistol grip!) on a sling on his back. He says that he carries the firearms to educate the public about their rights and for personal protection. As 620wtmj.com reports, police received “frantic” calls from upset residents about the gun-toter. This is certainly possible, but in a number of other cases, such as with the Culver five in Madison and an open carrier in Michigan, calls received turned out to be mostly asking the police whether open carry was legal, something that actually furthers the education effort that Mr. Polster said he’s trying to accomplish.
Police realized Polster was exercising his right to open carry. Since he wasn’t breaking any laws, they let him go.
The education effort appears to be working, at least with the police. The Germantown cops apparently did not pull their guns on Mr. Polster, knocked him to the ground, or handcuff him as has been done with a number of other open carriers. Several settlements of thousands of dollars have been paid by cities to open carriers who have been victimized in this way.
It is clear that in this case, the police understood that this was simply a citizen exercising his rights, not a criminal or crazy person. Hint for those who have not considered this: Mr. Polster was not shooting or pointing his firearms at anyone. He wasn’t even holding them in his hands.
There are those who believe that the police are trying to discourage the exercise of a constitutional right. Meanwhile, Mr. Polster says that he is going to keep carrying firearms openly, and exercising his rights.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.