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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.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

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    • Yeah, I like how said professor claimed this and that. Its very telling, I’m in school, yes, the liberal ass professors, even the law ones, really don’t know jack nor shit about gun laws or self defense laws. I proved one wrong in front of everyone in class that our state, and just about every state in the union has no “duty to retreat” laws. She insisted that not only you had a “duty to retreat” but you also can only use a gun defensively if they also have a gun. Meaning that if they didn’t have a gun, you had to just roll over and take it, because it wasn’t a fair fight. Yeah, that level of stupidity. Luckily for those in that class, I was the one giving them a proper education that day.

      • That “professor” was just a dude from another state commenting on the story. He wasn’t even in the actual story. He was wrong and he really has no teeth in Wisconsin politics anyways.

        • Doesn’t matter if he wasn’t in the actual article, he is still a liberal-ass professor.

  1. a win is a win is a win..
    I will take it, and also note that now the PD needs to be revised themselves so that they don’t accidentally arrest someone under an ordinance which is not legal. Wow that doesn’t seem to make sense, but I will take it.
    POG can take satisfaction that their due diligence in this matter has paid off.
    I am sure Shannon Watts probably has something to say..


    • Why would the police care if they arrest someone who broke no law? Costs them nothing, and shores up their macho image of “I’m in control here, don’t need no stinkin’ laws!”

  2. I’m betting he knew it all along, and got caught in a bodacious lie.

    Q: Name one thing that cops do both on and off duty.
    A: Lie.

    • Burke, you have disgraced yourself by painting with such a broad brush, impugning the motives and good name of countless police officers. I know it is popular around here to do that, but I for one will not remain silent while good men’s reputations are sullied by this kind of outrageously untrue and unfair remark. I would say you should be ashamed of yourself, but I’m sure in your case that would be pointless.

        • It sure seems to be getting more difficult to find good cops. With the proliferation of no-knock warrants, SWAT teams, and the overall up armoring even of traffic cops, the job sure seems to attract even more of the wrong element as an occupation than it always did. Factor in institutional, legalized theft by way of civil asset forfeiture, and you have a major metropoltan gang in uniform in each city operating at taxpayer expense. Only these municipal gangs are very advanced. They know that red is irrelevant. They know that blue is moot. The only color that matters is under color of official duty.

      • As a lawyer, if I reacted this way to all jokes about my profession (I assume you’re in law enforcement) I’d have an ulcer.

      • Gotta agree with Paul on this one. There are lots of great cops, who are on our side. Just like the military. They’re not blind SS members. However…. this can depend allot on where you live. Here in the south, chances are just about every cop is going to be pro 2A and friendly. Now, take a few from Chicago Illinois and NYC… well those cops are going to nail you to the wall for having a squirt gun.

        • To me, today, a good cop would have to be spending all his time arresting or testifying against bad cops, wouldn’t have time for any other job. That doesn’t seem to be happening. A non-cop with a video is the only way justice even gets a foothold any more.

      • Really? Supposed to take a cop serious who images himself a Brigadier (one star) General de Polizi? Why not three or four stars or would that just be tacky?

      • As a LEO, I have no problem with what he said. The stereotype exists for pretty good reason. 15 years ago, I was working with under educated morons who liked to throw punches and lose lawsuits. It’s gotten better in the last ten years since hiring standards weeded out the punch throwing lawsuit cops.

        I’m one of those people who loves what video cameras have done for the job. It outs the liars and exonerates the honest decent cops. Burke is right, there are too many who still think they can lie on and off the job.

        • I sure agree about the video cameras. Funny how sometimes the video gets lost or accidentally erased, tho!!

      • When the good ones start turning in the corrupt ones, I’ll start to see it your way. Until then, they are just as corrupt as the bad ones.


      • Any “good” cop should be standing up decrying all theses idiot bad cops if they are not they are just as bad/guilty as those that actively do harm.

      • Problem is that when officers say a few bad apples ruin it for the 90 percent who are good guys. If they are such good guys then why are the bad apples still around. Ignoring the problem and covering up the problem makes you part of the problem. I will list you as one of the good guys when you actively get rid of the bad ones.

      • The Peace Officers I know, Most are Very Good The rest are Very Bad…Gotta know your own local Law Enforcement…(Town Cops, Local State Troopers, And County Sheriff and Deputies…Just sayin…)

      • I do have to chime in on this one. If an cashier at a retail establishment treats you poorly, do you blame all cashiers, do you blame the store chain, or do you blame the cashier? Trust me when I say that the analogy above is pretty close. Behind closed doors, LEOs often criticize other departments, agencies, and even teams within their own departments for the way they’ve handled calls. the point is this: not all LE’s come from the same mold. Most are with you on the second amendment, but it would be career suicide in many areas of the country if they said it publicly. If you want to see what happens behind the curtain, try a ride-along, become a reserve officer, volunteer time with a police department, or in my neck of the woods, join a Sheriff’s Posse.

        • It is funny that you compare a cashier that has less than an hour training before starting their job to a LEO.

  3. Leftist, liberal, anti-Second Amendment media do not admit when they are wrong? Do not read the state law? Do not admit when the Chief read it he realized the local ordinance was unenforceable and would ask for its removal, since the state law trumps any local ordinance? Naw, leftists in the news media are fair minded and when they are wrong they readily admit it, right? Wrong.

    Glad the Police Chief recognizes the truth. How about the Mayor?

    We are told that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” so if we violate a law we don’t even know about, we still are fined or suffer the consequences. How much more is that the case with those who are supposed to know and enforce the laws?

    • Well of COURSE they’re not going to admit they’re wrong. We’re talking about a media machine that deliberately altered a 9-1-1 to try and start a race war in Florida as a pretense to kill a law they hate. That could have EASILY got people killed. Although I personally think that there wasn’t any violence specifically BECAUSE of the very law they tried to have killed.

      Side note: the portrayal of the Zimmerman trial is why I will no longer be watching the show NewsRoom (which is being canned after this coming season anyway. Hooray!). Or for that matter watching any more Jeff Daniels movies for the foreseeable future. As IF it’s even remotely possible to ACCIDENTALLY edit a 9-1-1 call to make it it sound as if Zimmerman was being racist.

    • Not at all. First off, you have to remember you were charged with 27 separate crimes, down to jaywalking. So one or two were illegal BS, you will certainly pay dearly for pointing that out. And that kinda shit happened to me a few times, in a court of law, more than 50 years ago, it is nothing new.

  4. My local town has an ordinance that is improper as it cites a section of law that no longer exists as its basis for banning weapons in city hall. Part of me wants to tell them it is wrong but the cynical side says patience grasshopper. Keep yer poweder dry. You may need this legal technicality if they ever pop you carrying in city hall. It will help with my civil rights suit. 🙂

  5. What’s so damn difficult about it? If your state has a preemption statute, then local laws and ordinances that are not provide for in the state law are invalid.
    I’m in Washington State which has a preemption statute.

    • It’s not difficult. But people are uninformed. My brother-in-law has been hunting in Wisconsin since he was 12 and recently told me that his guns were licensed and registered. We have no such license or registration in Wisconsin. I have no idea what he thinks that system might be, other than a 4473.

  6. Take notes….The keystone in this story is public pressure brought to bear, is just a powerful as bearing arms. Pressure not conversation moves the needle, as well as the hammer.

  7. After they finally admit — after probably having known full-well from the get-go — that their utterly retarded (not to mention ineffective) city ordinance clearly doesn’t fall within state law, expect them to quietly repeal it.

    Or not, until they’re sued into doing so, at least.

  8. Hmm. I’m surprised that no one took the time to try open carrying to the point of finding out if they would be arrested. Would have made for a nice settlement.

    I’m not endorsing it, but I have to think that these stupid laws will keep getting passed be idiots until they have to pay for doing it.

  9. Cops lie, it comes with the territory. Some times you have to play poker to get at the truth, and officers today are trained how to lie. If and when they do so in court, or to the public at large, then its a problem.
    We have a lot of bad cops, and we have a lot of good and great ones. I wish that they would make it a requirement that any cop who lies in court be stripped of his badge and retirement. I think that would solve a lot of problems. One Armando Saldate is too many.

  10. Sorry guys and gals, I’m not a LEO either, but to come down with such a broad comment is bullshit. If I’m in a shoot out with a felon robing a bank or whatever and I need some help, nobody I would rather have beside me than a LEO. In saying that be just a touch more respectful to the good guys, not all are offensive.

  11. Gentlemen, can we not leave aside this raucous pro/con cop debate and calmly focus on what’s really important?
    Gun-grabbers can suck it!

  12. To be fair, the gentleman at the park has probably been the only true OCer Oconomowoc has seen in recent years. Folks over there usually keep their pistols concealed.I reckon the officer who made the statement hasn’t needed to deal with OC before. Its not common around there.I’m not defending his ignorance of the law, but who can judge a man for being ignorant on a topic he has no experience with? (Okay… I’m judging.)

  13. If i were the chief, the question would have been forwarded to the City Attorney and i would have quoted that response verbatim. Let the lawyers take the heat!

  14. Same sort of thing happened in Las Vegas Nevada where an open carrier open carried on the Strip ,purposely ,knowing it would draw Metro police who didn’t know state law either.He was arrested,he sued, he won an undisclosed amount and ALL of Las Vegas Metro police were required by court order to be retrained on State open carry laws and how to handle open carry situations in public.Of cou rse the news media made it a by the way story..The good part is one of the 60 minutes typs shows did a story on it.

  15. I’m in no way attempting to disparage LEOs when I say that none of them know all of the law. I say that because lawyers and judges and appeals courts and legislatures study the law constantly attempting to work out it’s meaning. The law is seldom black and white and rather is virtually always some shade of grey. It will suffice to make a good police officer if one has good intentions and reasonable instincts when reacting to apparent breeches of the law. If it appears that a misdemeanor has been committed a summons is often issued so that one can argue the case before a judge who is expected to understand the relevant law far better than any police officer. If a felony is suspected arrest often follows, with appropriate bonding or custody until prosecutors (lawyers) can work out if charges are appropriate and if sufficient evidence exists to prove such charges in court.

    In the most simplistic view, the police are there to deal with matters as they unfold and their understanding of the law need not continue much past basic rules of search and seizure, rules of arrest and detention and a few other very basic elements of law. Laws, or apparent infractions there of are argued in courts with lawyers (defense, prosecution and judge) not on the street with cops.

    I wouldn’t trust a cops opinion of what’s legal to protect me in any way shape or form, I’ve simply found them to be wrong far to many times. In the same vein though, I don’t even trust my very trustworthy attorney on his opinion of the law unless he cites relevant code, precedent, case law and can articulate why he believes that any specific course of action is either plainly legal or at least highly defensible should it come to trial.

    I should add that despite the above, arrest for not breaking the law is relatively rare and prosecution for not breaking the law even rarer still. The saying about how the cuffs come off as easy as they go on and how walking out of the jail is as easy as walking in bear repeating. If you want to test the bounds of what is legal (and this can be a very good thing for liberty) you have to accept that you may be arrested, plan ahead, leave bond $ with a trusted friend and simply go through the process. You can argue the case in court, but not on the sidewalk or in the park, it’s a no-win situation.

    • Well said. Thank you. Too many posters here seem to get worked up here, over-generalize about all cops when one Mayberry RFD type beclowns himself. If thats the Chief he looks more like an elderly community resources bicycle cop from Seattle or someplace equally lame. So lets not jump into the circular firing squad when much more important issues remain at hand…

      Like why dont 1911 fanboys understand the G23 is the One Gun To Rule Them All (TOGTRA)™….

  16. Good points, Ardent.. but there is a “flip side” to your train: suppose that sighted open carrier in the park (the one that unknowingly lit this firestorm) HAD been “contacted” by one of the Town’s Best in Blue. Cop thinks what he’s doing is illegal, presses him for ID, proof of residence, etc, etc, demands his firearm, clears it, seizes it, then claps the cuffs on him and hauls him in. The guy is booked, arraigned, enters a plea, is acquitted, and then turns about and sues the city for the whole deal, and wins. This is the typical scenario for such occurrences. NOW, let’s play it out differently. Same guy, same place, same cop. During the “contact”, OC guy asserts state law preempts local, (whicih he does in boeh these scenaria), that state law specifically permits OC, thus he breaks no enforceable law, no law at all. Cop “gets” that the guy is not of evil intent (three requisites for crime: means, opportunity, intent; obviously lacking the third), lives locally, works locally, is not indigent, s cooperative and respectful, though firm in his position. Cop decides to exercise discretion, and, after examining the gun and recording serial number, and pertinent ID and address info, lets him go free, advising he will look into the laws and if he’s broken the law he will then be cited to appear before the local magistrate.

    What is wrong with this second option being used as often as possible? But how often IS it used? Problem underlying: LE these days always take the benefit of the doubt.. they doubt the “contact” is innocent, thus he IS guilty, MUST be hauled in, his property and liberty taken, to let the EXPENSIVE judicial system turn its cranks ever so slowly and impersonally. I’ve known cases where the “contact” even has printed copies of relative state and local laws PROVING he is inocent of wrongdoing, yet is still hauled in, sometimes beaten, incarcerated, goods seized and often never returned, even after legal action to recover. It is this sort of pig-headed make-work they’re all guilty if I talk to them, let the (did I mention very EXPENSIVE) courts sort it out. Meanwhile, their “contact” has been assaulted, beaten, robbed of his goods, kidnapped and held captive against his will…… and when, years later, the courts have finally completed the last turn of the crank, the guy is awarded a few million dollars for the violation of his “civil rights”, which few millions are paid out of….. the PEOPLE’S COLLECTIVE POCKET.

    Yet there IS the alternative means of dealing with this sort of thing that costs, at the most, maybe ten minutes of the prosecutor or city attorney’s time to sort out. Cop brings the matter up, the attorneys (who should know already) check the contact’s claims about state preemtion, then state law on OC (or whatever), report back to the cop, “no violation, he was legal”, then to the Chief Law Inforcement Officer of the jurisdiction to inform HIM “hey, chief, yuo’ve got guys who don’t know OC is legal. Fix it”.

    THIS is how a civil society functions, and the FACT ours reraly functioins thusly is proof we have regressed in our civility.

  17. TMJ4 is a business partner with the Journal/Sentinel paper, a rabid opponent of the 2nd amendment, if my memory favors me.


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