Open carry is legal in Wisconsin. The state has a strong preemption law forbidding local governments from inflicting a confusing patchwork quilt of conflicting ordinances on gun owners. A mother noticed that one of the people using a park in the town of Oconomowoc was openly carrying a holstered pistol and posted a picture of it on Facebook, wondering if it was legal. A local Milwaukee television station, WTMJ, noticed the post and sent reporter Steve Chamraz to ask questions of local officials in Oconomowoc, where the park is located . . .
While the sign in the park does not explicitly state a ban on firearms, a spokesperson for the city said local law banning guns applies.
There’s only one little problem with that. The city official doesn’t know the law. Nik Clark, head of Wisconsin Carry tried to set the record straight in the comments:
It is NOT illegal to open carry on public property. Oconomowoc isn’t allowed to have its own gun laws. State statute 66.0409 pre-empts local ordinances with regard to gun carry/possession.
Open carry is PERFECTLY legal in Oconomowoc in public including Imagination Station and shame on local police for misleading the public about their lawful carry rights.
Clark should know. He’s been involved in numerous lawsuits that have resulted in settlements over these issues. Here is the wording of 66.049(2):
(2) Except as provided in subs. (3) and (4), no political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration or taxation of any firearm or part of a firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.
Ken Nelson, adjunct professor at Rush University replies:
Sorry Teabillies. Oconomowoc ordinance 9.02(2)(a) prohibits weapons “On any land located in City parks or within any public building owned by the City.”
He was quickly shot down (metaphorically speaking, of course), by other posters pointing out his error. Perfesser Nelson held up outdated law to support his erroneous position. I checked. The two statutes that he cites have to do with fish hatcheries and public buildings, not parks. I wonder if TMJ4 will investigate further. My money will be on Nik.