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The federal Gun Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) has been an abysmal failure. School shootings shot up after the act passed. In 1995, the federal law was ruled unconstitutional. In 1996, under heavy lobbying from President Clinton, the GFSZA was passed again with slight modifications. One of those modifications: an exemption in the law for people with concealed carry weapons permits — should the state allow it. Wisconsin law does not contain the exemption. Which led to this legal problem for one cheddar head [via] . . .

According to the police report, another member of the buildings and grounds department approached an officer at Oconomowoc High School and reported that the woman supposedly kept a firearm in her vehicle that was parked on school premises.

Approached by an officer, the woman denied having a firearm but admitted to having the stun gun. The officer accompanied her to the vehicle, and she retrieved it from the glove box.

The woman, who had a permit for the stun gun, said her husband purchased it for her protection after her vehicle was broken into one night in Milwaukee while working for another company.

Police checked state statutes to see if the electronic control device fell under the dangerous weapon statute and found that it did, and the Oconomowoc School District is pressing charges.

I don’t know what sort of interpersonal dynamics led one co-worker to claim that the accused woman had a gun in her vehicle. Perhaps the co-worker had learned that the woman had a concealed carry permit. There is no separate “stun gun permit” in Wisconsin. This sort of harassment has been promoted by disarmists like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

The law also ensnares legal gun owners. One resident used Google earth to measure the distance to a school from outside his property so that he would be sure to follow the law. A police officer had the distance surveyed, and arrested him for being a few feet inside the 1,000 foot limit. He spent 16 days in jail before the charge was finally dropped.

Wisconsin Carry is asking legislators to fix this oversight by mirroring the federal exemption in state law. It would be better to simply repeal the Wisconsin gun free school zone ban. It does nothing to protect children and entraps innocent gun owners. The law was and is bad law.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch


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  1. The safety of our students and staff is always our first priority, and we are cooperating fully with authorities as the investigation continues.”

    So much so we’re pressing charges against a staff member for having a tool to defend herself.

    All the anti morons who leave comments in pro-gun articles like “just use pepper spray” or “a taser is better” either don’t know or conveniently forget that in many anti stronghold regions you’ll do just as much time for a can of pepper spray as you would a Glock 19.

    • Yeah it’s bad enough with a firearm, which could be used to murder a bunch of children (like a knife or whatever) but… a stun gun? Who the hell ever went on a school-stunning spree???

  2. Rule # 1: Whether on your person or in your car, never, ever, tell anyone that you are carrying. In today’s politicized environment concerning guns, casual comments in your workplace can come back to haunt you.

    • ^ This. There is no benefit to telling other people that you’re armed, where you keep your guns, etc. Disseminate such information on a need-to-know basis.

      As much as I love the fact that women are a growing segment of the gun-owning community, I fear their propensity to share intimate details of personal information will lead to more of these issues.

      • There are some lessons that can only be learned with Bad Things Happen and many women have not had those kinds of life experiences to cause them to lean when to STFU. I worked around several men who motor-mouthed about literally everything that happened and were not at all trustworthy. On the other hand I had the good fortune to work for a succession of women bosses who were pit-bull tough and who did know how to keep secrets. They saved my unworthy butt so many times . . .

    • That’s what I was going to say. And even if she did let something slip to her beach coworker, when security starts asking her questions her answer should have instantly been “None of your business, go away before I call the police.”

      • Exactly. Never, ever, ever let anyone without a warrant search your car, nor admit to having anything in your car that could get you fired from your job. The fourth amendment makes us secure in our persons, our homes, and by extension our cars. With no warrant, you cannot search.

  3. “Ma’am, someone said you are ‘known’ to have a gun in your car. Do you have one in there?”


    And that would have probably been it.

    • No, it wouldn’t end there.
      Officer: “Mind if we have a look in your vehicle?”
      Employee: “Yes I mind, and you do not have permission to search my vehicle.”
      Then comes the question of whether the officer could or would obtain a search warrant.
      The poor woman’s untethered mouth got her in trouble.

      My question: Is violation of the GFSZ Act a felony? If not, then her gun rights aren’t in peril.

      • It’s behind the cheddar curtain. The progressive legacy there has a very strong intrusive authoritarian quality. I’d be willing to bet the officer would be more than happy to stay there until some agreeable local judge signed a warrant.

        • A warrant is only supposed to issue upon probable cause. There was none. And if the officer was intent on waiting until one arrived, she should have cranked up her car and left. Might have gotten fired, but not jailed. Explaining that “the mean cop was scaring me, so I left.” might have even kept her job, or even better cost him his.

      • That federal law involves firearms, not tasers. It has nothing to do with this state law.

        And as to your continuation of the conversation, my response for her would be the same: “nope.” If the officer conducts a warrantless search or obtains a warrant then she’s no worse off. But now, because it was a consent search where she had an illegal weapon, she likely has no basis to challenge it.

    • I would guess that the woman signed an agreement, the school system’s employee handbook, that gave consent for the system or it’s representative (the cop) to search any container or vehicle brought on to school property.

      • One cannot sign away their 4th Amendment rights in that manner. Any penalties for denying a search would have had to be administrative in nature, with regards to her job. And if it’s a public school, I wonder if they could even do that.

  4. Typical statists. Prosecute the victim.

    How could that cop enforce that law?

    How could congress pass it?

    How do we the people tolerate it?

  5. Washington state, like many others I believe, has an exemption for leaving the firearm locked in your car in a school parking lot when you are on the grounds of the school doing legitimate business. You are allowed to have the firearm on your person if you are in your car picking a student up. It amazes me that they put the gun free zone in in the first place, and then start this exemption, that exemption, as though they recognize the whole thing is a ridiculous safety sham. I think the bottom line is that while they know it has no effect on school safety, no school District, city, or state, wants to go on the record these days saying that they are doing away with the GFZAs

  6. When are people going to learn to keep their mouth shut? See this tidbit from the WI DOJ on the CCW rules:

    “It is lawful to possess a firearm in or on the grounds of a school or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school as follows … [t]he firearm is not loaded and is encased or in a locked firearm rack that is on a motor vehicle” Wis. Stat. 948.605(2)(b)(3a and b).

    Stop consenting to searches. If the cops thought that they had probable cause that a crime was committed, she should have made them get a warrant to search the car. The stun gun was probably “loaded” but it was in the locked car. I agree that the law needs to change, but this woman could have avoided being charged if she forced the cops’ hands instead of letting them in her car. Just like the gentlemen in NJ, folks are going to have to educate themselves as to what is a lawful search.

    • “Stop consenting to searches. If the cops thought that they had probable cause that a crime was committed, she should have made them get a warrant to search the car.”

      Agreed, but how do we convince people that it’s appropriate and legal to do this? Cops are certainly not going to tell you that you have a choice, beyond saying “do you mind if I look in your car”? Most people naively say yes because they think they’re supposed to be cooperative. Yet, this is what caused the young mom to almost get set to jail on a felony charge in New Jersey.

      • I will agree that being a lawyer by trade help. This stuff gets nailed into your head in law school. I plan on teaching my kids, and having sitdowns with all of their friends once they get their licenses. A little freedom 101 session.

        • Sounds like a good topic for an article for TTAG, don’t you think? There’s a lot of cursory stuff floating around the ‘net but the the solid “if that happens, do this” kind of practical instruction is usually absent. For instance, if you get pulled over for a taillight and refuse a search, can the cop really make you wait the hours they often threaten you with?

  7. Ok… If I’m reading this law correctly, it is practically impossible to carry a gun anywhere. Said school zones are going to cross main arteries in just about any town. How has this managed to survive court challenges? Especially in light of recent decisions?

    • Keep in mind that there is an exception in the FEDERAL law if you have a state-issued permit. State law- which is the bugaboo here- vary.

      • Note that the federal law only excludes your carry within your OWN state (the state of issue). If you cross state lines (even into a state that reciprocate upon your permit), you will commit countless felonies simply by driving.

        I feel for the woman. My commute (to a university no less) has me passing within 1000 feet of no less than seven different schools. I can’t even store guns within my own home without violating the law, since a nearby house was “occupied” by a private school recently. It’s a sad state of affairs.

        • Look at your state laws. The original GFSZ law made all gun possession within 1000 feet of a school property llegal, however that was found unconstitutional as many legal gun owners lived within 1000 feet of the school’s property. Thus, the revised ruling states that if your residence/car is within 1000 feet you are exempt, and you may lawfully possess your gun, as well as those driving through the area. You may also in most cases leave it inside your car provided it’s locked up/unloaded in the vehicle. Your state laws would spell it out better of course, but driving through a school zone is federally exempted at least.

  8. I am a Wisc. resident, it’s my understanding based on the states DOJ faqs page

    and statute 948.605

    … That it is legal to be in possession of a firearm on school grounds if it is “encased” and not loaded. Does the glove-box meet the “encased” requirement? Should she have removed her hi-cap batteries..?

    Full text for those who are click-through averse:
    948.605  Gun-free school zones.
    (1)  Definitions. In this section:
    (a) “Encased” has the meaning given in s. 167.31 (1) (b).
    (ac) “Firearm” does not include any beebee or pellet-firing gun that expels a projectile through the force of air pressure or any starter pistol.
    (am) “Motor vehicle” has the meaning given in s. 340.01 (35).
    (b) “School” has the meaning given in s. 948.61 (1) (b).
    (c) “School zone” means any of the following:
    1. In or on the grounds of a school.
    2. Within 1,000 feet from the grounds of a school.
    (2) Possession of firearm in school zone.
    (a) Any individual who knowingly possesses a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is in or on the grounds of a school is guilty of a Class I felony. Any individual who knowingly possesses a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school is subject to a Class B forfeiture.
    (b) Paragraph (a) does not apply to the possession of a firearm by any of the following:
    1m. A person who possesses the firearm in accordance with 18 USC 922 (q) (2) (B) (i), (iv), (v), (vi), or (vii).
    1r. Except if the person is in or on the grounds of a school, a licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (d), or an out-of-state licensee, as defined in s. 175.60 (1) (g).
    2m. A state-certified commission warden acting in his or her official capacity.
    3. A person possessing a gun that is not loaded and is any of the following:
    a. Encased.
    b. In a locked firearms rack that is on a motor vehicle.
    3m. A person who is legally hunting in a school forest if the school board has decided that hunting may be allowed in the school forest under s. 120.13 (38)

  9. First, never give police permission to search your car, house, or whatever. If they have the legal right – warrant, incident to arrest, entering some restricted area, etc. – they do not need to ask. They cannot punish you for not giving your permission. If they search without legal authority, whatever they find cannot be used in court. Second, we need to pay attention to what companies and government institutions do this crap, and more specifically, who is responsible for making the decisions that lead to these kinds of charges or accusations. If these school administrators walk into a store I own, I will walk them right out the door with a trespassing notice, and if they come back, I will have them arrested. If they are my neighbor, if their dog barks at night, I call the police. If they set foot on my property, police get called. If their lawn violates any city ordnance, I call. Any noise after 10pm, police. If they get visibly angry, restraining order. Since I can afford it, perhaps a.lawsuit would be in order. , I can play their BS game too. Luckily, Progressives do not like my state, so I doubt I will have to deal with this kind of insanity.

  10. Whie I do suppor of repealing ths law, to allow persons to keep a firearm in their car on school propert, there are other laws that need repealling too. There is the 48-hour waiting period, the state background check for handguns, and the requirement for mandatory safety training before getting a carry license. Not to mention the prohibition of carrying in a bar that derives less than 51% of revenue from food.

    So there is a great deal of laws WisconsinCarry.Inc and WisconsinGunOwners,Org need to work on to make the state more of a pro-gun state.


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