Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said last week that state law allows residents to walk the streets armed, provided their firearms are visible to others. Van Hollen’s memo that outlined his opinion that carrying nonconcealed weapons is legal doesn’t change the law, nor does it affect how officers respond to gun calls.

“It definitely causes us to notch up our awareness if people end up choosing to walk around with guns on their side and those type of issues,” said Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder.

Ruder said the city’s seen few instances of people walking around with a holstered gun. Stevens Point is a safe community, he said, and it isn’t necessary to carry a firearm.

“Basically, (what) it would do is excite people to a point where we would get calls,” Ruder said. “It makes people more nervous and upset.”

“Even though open carry enjoys constitutional protection, it still might give rise to reasonable suspicion when considered in totality,” Van Hollen wrote. “It is not a shield against police investigation or subsequent prosecution.”

Van Hollen issued his opinion after a West Allis man was acquitted in February on disorderly conduct charges filed after police found him doing yard work while carrying a holstered pistol.

“I believe that every person should have the right to carry a gun for self-defense and no one should tell us there is no need to carry a gun,” said Kevin Michalowski, the senior editor of Gun Digest magazine. “If you’re not committing a crime with that gun, what is the problem?” Read more

Source: Stevens Point Journal