Skip to comments.WI:Update on Arrest for Open Carry on "Disorderly Conduct" and "Obstructing"
Posted on 12/15/2013 5:47:08 PM PST by marktwain
On 23 July, 2013, Mark J. Hoffman of Somerset, Wisconsin, was arrested for legally openly carrying firearms. The charges were disorderly conduct (DC) and obstructing. Here is the original Gun Watch article. Now it is reported that the charges were dropped by the DA. A blogger was able to get an interview with the police chief. Here is the report:
On July 24th, 2013, a Somerset Wisconsin man narrowly avoided becoming case law after being stopped by police while openly carrying an AR-15 slung over his shoulder and a handgun in a hip holster. I spoke to Chief Doug Briggs, of the Somerset Police Department who declined to identify the subject, later identified as Mark J. Hoffman, stated that he [Mr. Hoffman] was very respectful to officers, invoked his fifth amendment rights and refused to answer any questions, only telling the responding officers only that he was "within his rights." Chief Briggs also identified Mr. Hoffman as a graduate of Somerset High School. Because the officers could not verify that he was permitted under law to possess weapons within the 1000' radius, he was subsequently arrested for obstruction and disorderly conduct. His case was then deferred to the St. Croix County District Attorney's office, which declined to press charges, citing Mr. Hoffman's right against self-incrimination. No word yet on the outcome of the obstruction charge or whether Mr. Hoffman's weapons were confiscated.My thoughts about this case are a little different. If the charges were dropped by the DA, then they were dropped. No obstruction charge exists. It appears to me that the police had no probable cause, not even a reasonably articulable suspicion that a crime was being committed. It is far from clear that Mark Hoffman "knowingly" was within 1,000 feet of a school, and Wisconsin law does not require Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit holders to show ID (or the permit to police if they are not carrying a concealed weapon). To violate the 1,000 foot school zone, it must be done "knowingly". In any case, the firearms were being carried openly, not concealed.
My own thoughts on this? That irony of that shirt cracks me up! But if one is knowingly, as Mr. Hoffman must have been, within a school zone, the police have probable cause to demand ID and inquire about a CCL, and that Mr. Hoffman is very fortunate to have an ethical prosecutor review his case.
A licensee or out-of-state licensee who is carrying a concealed weapon must display the license and photo identification to a law enforcement officer upon the request of the law enforcement officer while the law enforcement officer is acting in an official capacity and with lawful authority. Wis. Stat. § 175.60(2g)(c).
Failure to display the license to a law enforcement officer is a $25 forfeiture. Wis. Stat. § 175.60(17)(a).Wisconsin law specifically states that openly carrying firearms is not disorderly conduct. The law was changed because of numerous instances of law enforcement agencies harassing people openly carrying firearms, charging them with disorderly conduct.
If we are afraid of exercising our rights for fear of arrest, we have already lost those rights.
Amen! Use 'em or lose 'em!
In other news, Double Double Dessert Dessert Day Day festivities are proceeding well at my house. I'm doing my part.
The cops here love using DC for everything and anything they cannot prove is illegal.
What if you live within 1000 feet of a school, are you even allowed to own a firearm?
There is an exception in the law for private property within 1000 feet of a school.
The law does not make any sense. It is purely emotional fluff, to make a statement that “guns are bad” and to make it legally difficult to carry a gun.
It is truly horrible law.