It started when a mother posted a simple picture on Facebook, and asked a simple question: Is openly carrying a gun legal in an Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, park? Milwaukee TV station WTMJ asked Oconomowoc officials who said that they had a local ordinance forbidding the practice, and that it was enforceable. In the process, they also smeared Second Amendment supporters . . .
Wisconsin Carry president Nik Clark and other Second Amendment supporters wrote and told WTMJ that they were wrong, citing the statutes in question. The TV station then went back to the city officials, who doubled down: both the city manager and the police chief restated that their ordinance was legal and enforceable.
Outraged Second Amendment supporters flooded the station and the city with emails and tweets, citing state law. Yesterday afternoon the police chief finally took the time to read the relevant statutes…and admitted that under Wisconsin’s preemption statute, the local law was unenforceable. Nik Clark of WisconsinCarry sent an email that the Chief had called him, and is in the process of correcting the error:
I’m pleased to relay that I received a call from the Oconomowoc Police Chief today who let me know that he has reviewed their local ordinance banning open carry in parks and realized it no longer fell within state law. He said he will be asking the city council to remove the ordinance at the next meeting. In the meantime, it will not be enforced.
I saw the video of the Chief Beguhn in the second broadcast and believe that he thought he was saying was the truth. What’s telling is that he apparently wasn’t concerned with actually checking it out until enough pressure was brought to bear.
Perhaps other police officials around the nation will learn from his example, and take the time to check the relevant statutes when asked a simple question about the laws they’re charged with enforcing.
TMJ4 ran this story as a semi-retraction; no mention of how they smeared Second Amendment supporters in the first broadcast. No mention that the clear facts are against them, no mention that Chief Beguhn has now actually read the law and is going to ask for its removal.
OCONOMOWOC — City leaders decided Wednesday to stop enforcement of a ban on open carrying of firearms in parks while lawyers determine if a local ordinance is compliant with state law, the city administrator said.
In short, they grudgingly admit that the City officials might not have been completely informed on the issue, and are checking on it.