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Wisconsin Court Upholds Ban on Gun Carrying in Cars

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has announced its 4-3 decision in Wisconsin v. Fischer. Previously, the Court had held that Wisconsin's complete prohibition on concealed handgun carry could not constitutionally be applied to carrying in one's home or place of business. However, the Court also ruled that Wisconsin's constitutional right to arms did not forbid the prohibition of concealed carry in an automobile. Today's decision examined the case of a tavern owner who carried large sums of cash in his automobile after closing the tavern late at night in dangerous neighborhood. The majority of the court held that automobile carry was constitutionally protected only in "extraordinary" circumstances, which the majority said were not present in the instant case.

Three dissenters would have ruled that the concealed carry prohibition could not constitutionally be applied to the instant case. One of the three wrote a dissenting opinion in which he argued that Wisconsin's total ban on concealed carry should be held facially unconstitutional, in light of the right to arms which Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly added to their state constitution in 1998. The dissent briefly cited an Albany Law Review article I wrote about the previous Wisconsin cases. This is my 8th state supreme court citation, for those of you who are counting.

Steve P. (mail):
Any cite is better than no cite, but is there a prestige differential between being cited in the majority opinion rather than a single dissent? I'm not trying to knock Mr. Kopel's accomplishment, I'm just idly curious.


[I don't really know either, in terms of academic prestige, but I think it's reasonable to presume that a majority opinion is better in general. My total record is unanimous majority 1; divided majority 3; concurring 2; dissenting 2.]
5.17.2006 5:28pm
bob montgomery:
That seems really...strange. So you *can* legally own a gun in Wisconsin, you just can't carry it in a car? How do you transport guns anywhere? By bike? I must be missing something.

??
5.17.2006 5:42pm
EricK:
In WI firearms must be unloaded and cased when in a motor vehicle.
5.17.2006 5:52pm
EricK:
Also that applies to all firearms not just handguns.
5.17.2006 5:54pm
Stryker:
I Believe NYC requires both the Firearm and ammo to be locked in separate "safes" (I don't know what constitutes a safe).
/sarcasm on/
That's why no one gets shot in the City.
/sarcasm off/
5.17.2006 5:55pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Hm. Inspired me to look up the Mississippi law (Miss. Code Ann. 97-37-1):
It shall not be a violation of this section for any person over the age of eighteen (18) years to carry a firearm or deadly weapon concealed in whole or in part within the confines of his own home or his place of business, or any real property associated with his home or business or within any motor vehicle.
So the Ruger .357 in my glovebox is okay. Now I just need to remember to lock the damn box when I get out of the car.
5.17.2006 6:08pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I Believe NYC requires both the Firearm and ammo to be locked in separate "safes" (I don't know what constitutes a safe).

Well for all your whining about NYC's draconian gun laws, it has one of the lowest murder rates of a major city in the U.S. (35th highest in 2004, lower than every city in Texas). In fact, four of the top ten cities (including number one by a long shot--New Orleans) have very loose gun control laws, love the death penalty and law and order, and are in red-blooding, gun-toting, concealed carry states.
5.17.2006 7:05pm
bob montgomery:
Thanks for clarifying, EricK.
5.17.2006 7:21pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
So the other 6 cities in the top 10 have very strict guns, hate the death penalty and law and order, and are in blue-blooding,gun hating, non concealed carry states? NYC didn't seem all that friendly when I was there, but I was wearing a Red Sox hat in the Bronx.
5.17.2006 7:21pm
PersonFromPorlock:
FF: Well, if four in ten have loose gun control laws, six in ten don't. And NYC's laws haven't changed much in principle or practice for the last several decades, during which it had, at times, much higher firearm murder rates. It appears that gun control laws don't have a lot to do with gun crime rates.
5.17.2006 7:26pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
So the other 6 cities in the top 10 have very strict guns, hate the death penalty and law and order, and are in blue-blooding,gun hating, non concealed carry states?

Except for DC, I don't know their status.
5.17.2006 7:26pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Well, if four in ten have loose gun control laws, six in ten don't. And NYC's laws haven't changed much in principle or practice for the last several decades, during which it had, at times, much higher firearm murder rates. It appears that gun control laws don't have a lot to do with gun crime rates.

I would tend to agree that local gun control laws tend not to have much impact on overall crime rates. But my side is not the one that constantly argues that concealed carry will lower crime rates and "More guns mean less crime" or that any regulation will inevitably lead to confiscation.
5.17.2006 7:31pm
ardbeg78 (mail):
Just FYI, even NYC's draconian gun laws do not require that guns &ammo be locked up separately. With respect to keeping guns at home, a locked safe is required only upon the registration of a fifth firearm (at which point, presumably, you would be required to lock up all 5, if that makes any sense). You are also required to have a separate trigger lock for every gun that is registered. With respect to transporting firearms, they must be in a locked box and unloaded. There are no regulations that I am aware of that require ammunition to be transported in a locked container.
5.17.2006 8:19pm
Steve:
Isn't it actually those who are not counting who would need to be told that this is Prof. Kopel's eighth state supreme court citation? Wouldn't the people who are counting presumably know that already?
5.17.2006 8:24pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
We really don't know how many crimes gun ownership deters. How do you count something that doesn't happen? You can try comparing crime rates before and after a change in the law, and then try some form of a disguised post hoc ergo propter hoc argument.

Interviews with street muggers in New York City reveal that they are afraid of an armed citizenry. I remember one criminal who admitted he wasn't afraid of the police or going to prison. The only thing that really worried him was one day someone he tried to rob would shoot him. He also said he preferred to rob men as they would generally submit passively, while women would at least scream--although the screaming wouldn't help them much. Deterrence does work. The errand boys in NYC for drug dealers would carry large sums of money in the street unmolested even though most people in the neighborhood knew who they were and what they were doing. The neighborhood also knew, that if you rob the drug dealers errand boy you will meet a swift and certain punishment.
5.17.2006 10:24pm
therut:
How much death or mayham does Free Speach cause. Anyone have a clue. Would'nt it be easier to convict criminals if they did not have the right to stay silent and have a lawyer,jury trial and so on. Oh I know if we did not recognize and have a SCOTUS to protect our rights(wink, wink,) why we would not be what we consider FREE. We put up with the harm these things allow. The 2nd amendment is the same. There will always be some who abuse it to cause harm or crime but we protect it(not the SCOTUS though) because we are FREE. Before Clinton left office he had The National Reasearch Council to study gun control. They found no evidence that any gun control NONE has shown to reduce crimes with guns. NONE. This was not the NRA or BRADY. Now to be honest they said that there should be more data collected before they could say absolutely. They only thing they could say has worked is gun court for minors. Imagine that. With all the gun control we have none can be shown to decrease gun crimes. I mean even not allowing felons to own guns. NOTHING. I bet Clinton was not very happy that one of his last directives did not conclude what he was looking for. Imagine if there had been a study that showed abortion makes someone live longer by preventing heart attacks and preventing ovarian cancer. I think it would have been all over the MSM. There was only a few papers that even printed anything about it. The NYT of coarse implied that it showed nothing and called for more regulations to gather more data. SIGH.
5.17.2006 11:07pm
Rob McNickle (mail) (www):
He was speaking of gun control, not guns. There is a huge difference.
5.18.2006 1:11am
PersonFromPorlock:
FF: Okay, so now you are saying that guns are absolutely benign? That they have absolutely no impact on crime rates, pro or con? In other words, they are useless?

Assuming absolutely no impact, the better term would be 'harmless'. In which case, an interest in liberty argues against their regulation.

My real objection to gun control is that it presumes the incompetence, immaturity or criminality of the average person; government by-the-people can't endure if politicians are allowed to presume that.
5.18.2006 8:20am
Freder Frederson (mail):
You guys really are sensitive about your guns, aren't you? I see you removed my post.

They found no evidence that any gun control NONE has shown to reduce crimes with guns. NONE. This was not the NRA or BRADY

And maybe that's because this country has never had any meaningful gun control laws. Even the handful of jurisdictions that have enacted outright bans on handguns or severe restrictions on them (NYC, Chicago, and DC being the three most notable), all it takes is a short trip to the suburbs to circumvent the ban legally. And the NRA rushes to the defense of unscrupulous gun dealers who sell guns to undercover cops who inform the dealers they are making straw purchases or plan to resell the guns to gangbangers.
5.18.2006 11:10am
EricK:
The 2nd amendment is the one that guarantees all the others. That is why liberals are so against it. They cannot impose a repressive communist government so long as we have an armed populace.
5.18.2006 1:18pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The 2nd amendment is the one that guarantees all the others. That is why liberals are so against it. They cannot impose a repressive communist government so long as we have an armed populace.

What an absolute crock. No other developed nation has such unfettered gun rights as this country or gun rights enshrined in their constitutions, yet they muddle along quite well. The Soviet Union and all its satellites fell with all those draconian gun control laws in place--mostly with very little violence by the populace.
5.18.2006 2:04pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And the NRA rushes to the defense of unscrupulous gun dealers who sell guns to undercover cops who inform the dealers they are making straw purchases or plan to resell the guns to gangbangers.
Examples? Even one?

The NRA certainly didn't help the Chicago area dealers who were clearly and knowingly engaging in straw purchases.
5.18.2006 2:06pm
EricK:

What an absolute crock. No other developed nation has such unfettered gun rights as this country or gun rights enshrined in their constitutions, yet they muddle along quite well. The Soviet Union and all its satellites fell with all those draconian gun control laws in place--mostly with very little violence by the populace.


Hardly a crock. No other developed nation is as free as the US.
5.18.2006 2:51pm
Another Soviet Refugee (mail):
Hey Mr. Fred Federson, I would posit that the Soviet breakup wasn't full and complete precisely because it was the KGB types like Putin who are now in power for the only real reason being that they control the guns.
5.18.2006 3:08pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
The NRA certainly didn't help the Chicago area dealers who were clearly and knowingly engaging in straw purchases.

They most certainly did. They got the entire case thrown out of court, arguing that the dealers were entrapped and the cops were outside their jurisdiction, and are behind the subsequent efforts to ban the liability cases for gun dealers and manufacturers who knowingly introduce guns into commerce for illegal purposes.
5.18.2006 3:15pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Hey Mr. Fred Federson, I would posit that the Soviet breakup wasn't full and complete precisely because it was the KGB types like Putin who are now in power for the only real reason being that they control the guns.

And I would argue that the general lawlessness in Russia, excarbated by the Russian Mafia's easy access to all those military firearms, is what is driving Russia's descent back into a kind of Authoritarian Kleptocracy.
5.18.2006 3:18pm
EricK:

And I would argue that the general lawlessness in Russia, excarbated by the Russian Mafia's easy access to all those military firearms, is what is driving Russia's descent back into a kind of Authoritarian Kleptocracy.


That is a good point. The criminals have the guns and the citizens do not, which give the criminals power. So that really makes the case against gun control.

Do you really think that the Soviets would have been able to maintain control of the other eastern bloc countries if the citizens where armed?
5.18.2006 4:20pm
Broncos:
Is the argument against gun control really that we need to be able to take on the U.S. Army? If so, we need a lot more than handguns or assault rifles.
5.18.2006 5:24pm
W for Vendetta:
Is the argument against gun control really that we need to be able to take on the U.S. Army?

No, just the criminals and police.

I don't see any signs of the U.S. becoming a military dictatorship. But we're already on the road to a police state.
5.18.2006 7:08pm