BELLEVUE, WA â€“ The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today criticized Milwaukee, WI Police Chief Ed Flynn for his open defiance of the State Attorney Generalâ€™s office in a controversy over open carry of firearms.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has stated that it is legal in Wisconsin for citizens to carry guns openly in a peaceful manner. However, Chief Flynn is ordering his officers to â€œtake downâ€ citizens, â€œput them on the groundâ€ and disarm them, and â€œthen decide whether you have a right to carry it.â€
The situation should alarm all Wisconsin citizens, whether they own guns or not, said CCRKBA Legislative Director Joe Waldron, because it places police officers and private citizens in a deliberately confrontational position. Also, he added, Flynnâ€™s approach raises serious constitutional questions because of the stateâ€™s clearly defined â€œright to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purposeâ€ under Article I, Section 25 of the state constitution.
â€œBecause Wisconsin does not allow concealed carry,â€ Waldron said, â€œthe only way for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to keep and bear arms is to carry handguns openly. Chief Flynn should not assume he or his officers have the authority to decide who can and cannot exercise that right. His attitude is outrageous.
â€œAttorney General Van Hollen was correct in his statements about the legality of open carry,â€ Waldron continued, â€œand what does it say about a police chief when he publicly announces that heâ€™ll do things his way and to hell with what the attorney general says?â€
Waldron also said a plan, announced by State Rep. Leon Young, a Milwaukee Democrat, to draft legislation that bans open carry, â€œis inviting court challenge.â€
â€œIf you cannot carry openly, and you cannot carry concealed,â€ Waldron wondered, â€œhow can law-abiding Wisconsin citizens exercise their state constitutional right to keep and bear arms? We encourage Rep. Young to address that issue to the state Supreme Court before he pushes ahead with that scheme.â€