Chickens & Rifles

Some men have been carrying AR-15 rifles to the Appleton Farmer’s Market. They are making a Point about open carry laws and 2nd Amendment rights, etc.

Other people – and yes, these are people I know – decided to carry chickens to the Farmer’s Market instead, because you can’t openly carry a chicken to the Farmer’s Market but you can carry a rifle.

So you can see why some people are upset and protesting the rifles.

The problem is that there’s a weird intersection of city and state laws here. The municipal code bars the chicken. The state law allows the rifles. What you wind up with is a wholly stupid situation, where people will be boycotting the farmer’s market because they don’t want rifles there, you know, near their children and parents and friends, which means the city, or the county, or someone, will have to do something instead of letting a really cool local institution fail.

Also, this note from Sarah Garb, Appleton’s District 5 Alderperson:

As we embark on this Octoberfest weekend with some of us slightly on edge, I wanted to share some of my views and some updates about the City’s efforts to keep this event safe.

First off, here is a link to the Octoberfest website if you have any questions about the events of the next few days.

Second, I have spoken with Police Chief Helein about plans for this weekend and I am confident that the APD has planned, staffed, and prepared to keep this event as safe as possible. There has been significant thought put into the new challenges that may face the City and law enforcement as a result of the events at the Farmer’s Market. I would not hesitate to attend the event.

Third, I appreciate the community engagement and dialogue to which these events have led. And I share the outrage of some of you at what I view as the careless and capricious nature of those who chose to open carry AR-15s at the Market, and who clearly do not speak for all gun owners. I understand that the juxtaposition between that legality and prohibitions on dogs, toy guns and chickens, defies logic at some level. But here is what I can tell you:
• The Conceal/Carry laws that allow this conduct have been the law since November of 2011. This is not a new reality.
o Here is the WI DOJ “guidebook” on the law :
o Here is the bill itself (the Open Carry portion starts at 17)
• The Conceal/Carry laws are state laws which expressly preempt municipal law; i.e., we cannot make a more restrictive version of the state law. We cannot regulate in areas the state law regulates. So when you are frustrated that the City cannot just “ban guns at the Farmer’s Market”, that is why. I, too, am frustrated.
• If you want state laws to change, you need to (at least) address your legislators.
o Mine are Frank Lassee and Al Ott:
o If you don’t know who yours are, use this form:
• The City does have the authority to ban dogs, etc. from the area. That’s the disconnect that leads to some absurd results: Guns (state law-no municipal authority);
toy guns (municipal law).
• I have brought a suggestion to the Mayor and Attorney Walsh regarding a solution that would legally allow the City to regulate guns at the Market. Out of fairness to them, I will say only that they are reviewing it and I am sorting through what hurdles are deemed to be legal and what are simply logistical. It may not be tenable.
• The City is working hard to find a way to make attendees comfortable and remind them that they are safe, while respecting the legally articulated rights of the gun owners.
• In the meantime, please rely on law enforcement to address any incidents that may arise. I have the utmost confidence in them. And please remember that not all of us find all of our rights palatable. But as of now, they are rights.

Happy Octoberfest weekend,

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