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Milwaukee police call for concealed-carry changes

So apparently the Wisconsin law for concealed-carry doesn't necessarily just allow for law abiding citizens from legally carrying a concealed weapon. Milwaukee Police want to change the law to bar individuals with three misdemeanor convictions in five years from obtaining a concealed-carry permit.

The irony of this is the defense from a spokesmen for Wisconsin Carry, a gun rights group. He is worried about laws that could "infringe on the rights of law-abiding (people)." The irony? He's essentially defending the rights of people convicted of misdemeanors to be able to carry guns on the grounds that they are "law-abiding" citizens.

Full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of conceal/carry, but I suppose I don't have that big of a problem with it. I do hunt and possess firearms. I do, however, dislike weak, illogical arguments.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
03/12/2012 @ 10:21:58 AM
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It also seems ironic that the biggest opponents of conceal-carry (or perhaps the biggest proponents of reasonable restrictions) are those charged with keeping the peace in the first place.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Ombudsman
03/12/2012 @ 06:06:55 PM
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Well the police have a track record of favoring a reduction of rights if it makes (or they think will make) their job easier/better/safer/etc. (examples including: Free-speech zones, no filming/photography of police, various 4th amendment issues, etc.). They certainly should voice their opinions, but that doesn't mean they are right, just because they are the police.

As for the issue in question, it's mentioned somewhat in the article, but not all misdemeanors are created equal. At the very least specific types of crimes should be debated as to whether that specific activity is enough to deny someone their rights.

From the article:
Second, the requirements for a gun permit ignore the reality of plea bargains. Many habitual criminals legally qualify for, and could obtain, a concealed-carry permit because they were never convicted of a felony for which they were charged.

This, I don't agree with at all. I understand that plea bargains are used to avoid a logjam in the system in certain areas, but you still can't go and then try to treat them like they are guilty of felonies when, legally, they are not. If officials are weary of various suspects keeping their concealed carry rights, then don't plead down egregious felonies to misdemeanors. Or, if someone has pled down or was convicted of previous misdemeanors, and is now up for a felony...try him on the felony this time.

There is also the problem that prosecutors sometimes overcharge suspects so that they can then put pressure on the suspect to plead guilty to a lesser charge, rather than face a trial. So it's certainly possible that some of these people really only committed misdemeanors, even when initially charged with felonies. This doesn't even get into the possibilities where people are innocent, but are charged with felonies, but plead down to avoid the chance of going to prison.

Also, the problem of having to plead felony suspects down to misdemeanors due to lack of resources seems to be much more of a big city type of problem. If I have 3 misdemeanors to my name in the last 5 years in Milwaukee, there is probably a stronger chance that I am really guilty of 1 or more felonies than I would be if those misdemeanors came in Eau Claire, or Chippewa, or Oneida Counties. This law, however, proposes to treat them the same.

I've kind of rambled here in this post, but the bottom line is that a felony conviction has been pretty standard across the country to be the threshold for taking away, or limiting a persons civil rights. From the article, at least, I don't see why that should change here.

P.S. Milwaukee's police chief Ed Flynn seems to be leading the fight here, but I don't trust him on gun rights issues. A few years ago he said this about the citizens who exercise their perfectly legal right to open-carry: "My message to my troops is if you see anybody carrying a gun on the streets of Milwaukee, we'll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it" (http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/43347632.html)
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Matt messed with this at 03/12/2012 6:09:09 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
03/12/2012 @ 06:17:27 PM
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The conceal-carriers that I know certainly do have a very strong, bordering on unhealthy, distrust of any public official, police, politician or otherwise. Not that all do, and not that some skepticism of government isn't healthy.

The other point is simply what you stated several times. If some is indeed convicted of a misdemeanor, they simply cannot call themselves "law abiding citizens." I myself have never been convicted of anything, be it littering, disturbing the peace, or otherwise (not that I have never done anything that could possibly qualify as violating some sort of ordinance or law somewhere). The point is I am a law abiding citizen. The spokesman for Wisconsin Carry, in the article, is worried that we are going to be violating the rights of "law abiding citizens." Well, they are doing no such thing. They are limiting the ability to exercise certain rights for those who have been convicted of state crimes. Big difference
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3390 Posts
03/12/2012 @ 06:22:22 PM
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Can they take away your rights for speeding, if they wanted?
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - No one's gay for Moleman
03/12/2012 @ 06:23:02 PM
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Well, I respect their opinion/concern as the group most likely to be getting shot at if the "wrong" person winds up with a gun, or at least it's hard to "blame" them for a general "assume a threat, ask questions later" position on other people having guns.

I didn't read the article, but just reading Scott's comments, and continuing my need to disagree with everything he says, I don't know if misdemeanors are a good "measure". I mean, I guess at SOME level a guy with a rap sheet that's 90 pages long of "minor" things over the course of multiple separate events is "more" of a criminal than a guy with one felony, but I just wonder how many misdemeanors we all violate every day, if someone decided to start pursuing them all.

I do agree with Matt that, legally speaking, if you're going to offer someone a lesser plea, then you have to accept that that's "all" they did, and if you DON'T want to do that, then stop making the offers.

I do agree that it's weird to call those people "law abiding citizens", if that was your point, but then again I guess so would be anyone that's ever gone over the speed limit, regardless of actually being caught.
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Jeremy edited this 2 times, last at 03/12/2012 6:24:19 pm
scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
03/12/2012 @ 06:25:34 PM
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Matt Wrote - Today @ 06:06:55 PM
Well the police have a track record of favoring a reduction of rights if it makes (or they think will make) their job easier/better/safer/etc. (examples including: Free-speech zones, no filming/photography of police, various 4th amendment issues, etc.). They certainly should voice their opinions, but that doesn't mean they are right, just because they are the police.


There's also the whole "cops don't like getting shot" thing, especially since armor piercing bullets are legal.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3390 Posts
03/12/2012 @ 06:50:12 PM
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Shooting people not in defense of self, or others, is usually already illegal. If you are the type of person who is going to shoot a cop, you're probably also a type of person who will carry a gun whether you are allowed to or not.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
03/13/2012 @ 10:45:29 AM
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Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 06:06:55 PM
Also, the problem of having to plead felony suspects down to misdemeanors due to lack of resources seems to be much more of a big city type of problem. If I have 3 misdemeanors to my name in the last 5 years in Milwaukee, there is probably a stronger chance that I am really guilty of 1 or more felonies than I would be if those misdemeanors came in Eau Claire, or Chippewa, or Oneida Counties. This law, however, proposes to treat them the same.


I didn't get that out of this article. The issue that the cop is arguing is for repeat offenders. In other words, if you are guilty of 3 in the past 5 years, you are considered a repeat offender. How hard it is not to committ misdemeanors, let alone repeated misdemeanors. The police department adds in as a second point the part about felonies being plea-bargained. But that doesn't change the fact that repeat offenders of laws currently aren't being limited in their ability to carry a concealed weapon. Wisconsin also has different categories of misdemeanors according to the severity of the crime, so that could pretty easily address the difference between being arrested for protesting in a location you aren't supposed to (or something) and something more violent that isn't a felony (like driving a car while drunk) (also of note, all 3 classes of misdemeanors in Wisconsin have possible jail time as sentences). Like I said, I'm pretty sure I've never committed a misdemeanor (sure, that I know of anyway, at least to Jeremy's point), and it's not like I'm really trying hard to avoid them.

The point anyway is that caught or not, being convicted of a misdemeanor sort of takes away the "law abiding" citizen aspect away from the pro-gun crowd. Is there a limit to the number of misdemeanors (or any non-felony law) that someone can commit before society decides that limiting their right to carry a gun around town seems reasonable? Again, this argument isn't stripping law abiding citizens of anything, because the people they are defending are not law-abiding.

The point is that habitual criminals don't get to call themselves "law-abiding citzens" and thus any defense of such individuals by the pro-gun crowd on these grounds is not simply misleading, it's factually incorrect.
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Scott edited this at 03/13/2012 10:48:49 am
jeremy.jpgJeremy - I believe virtually everything I read.
03/13/2012 @ 03:01:02 PM
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The thing to be "concerned" about, if there is anything to be, is that one "event" could be like 19 misdemeanors. So one break in and theft might be b&e, trespassing, petty theft, transporting narcotics, etc etc.

Of course someone who "only" broke into one home* last year isn't a "law abiding citizen" by any stretch of the imagination.

If they:

1) Use the classes, so this only covers the borderline felonies, and not "I walked home, instead of drove home, after bar close and was busted for public intoxication."
2) Possibly have shorter statute of limitations
3) Possibly even make it "event" based, so that if the bar is 3 misdemeanors in 5 years, that means 3 separate things, not one thing they count as 99.

I'm not really sure what you could find with to argue about there. (Unless of course you think the gov telling anyone, even convicted murders, they aren't allowed to have guns is over reaching their authority in the first place, which may be the case.)

*Or stole one iPhone out of an open car window, or whatever would actually be small enough to qualify as a misdemeanor, but still obviously be out of the realm of speeding.
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Jeremy perfected this 2 times, last at 03/13/2012 3:06:28 pm
thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - 3390 Posts
03/13/2012 @ 05:41:43 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 10:45:29 AM
Like I said, I'm pretty sure I've never committed a misdemeanor (sure, that I know of anyway, at least to Jeremy's point), and it's not like I'm really trying hard to avoid them.


Well, you've most likely committed a few felonies already.

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594032556
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
03/13/2012 @ 06:10:31 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 10:45:29 AM
Matt Wrote - Yesterday @ 06:06:55 PM
Also, the problem of having to plead felony suspects down to misdemeanors due to lack of resources seems to be much more of a big city type of problem. If I have 3 misdemeanors to my name in the last 5 years in Milwaukee, there is probably a stronger chance that I am really guilty of 1 or more felonies than I would be if those misdemeanors came in Eau Claire, or Chippewa, or Oneida Counties. This law, however, proposes to treat them the same.


I didn't get that out of this article. The issue that the cop is arguing is for repeat offenders. In other words, if you are guilty of 3 in the past 5 years, you are considered a repeat offender. How hard it is not to committ misdemeanors, let alone repeated misdemeanors. The police department adds in as a second point the part about felonies being plea-bargained. But that doesn't change the fact that repeat offenders of laws currently aren't being limited in their ability to carry a concealed weapon.


The repeat aspect was one of part of it, but they boosted that by saying that most of these people should really already be convicted felons (the common standard for losing one's rights), if not for the overburdened system. I believe it's even in the article that this is especially a problem in urban areas, like Milwaukee. My point was that even if we give them that and say that in Milwaukee, most 3-misdemeanor people are really bad people who should be denied permits (Bonus Questions: should they lose their vote as well?), the argument doesn't necessarily hold up in other, less burdened areas of the state.
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Matt edited this 2 times, last at 03/13/2012 6:11:40 pm
scott.jpgScott - Get Up! Get outta here! Gone!
03/13/2012 @ 09:08:15 PM
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By that logic though, wouldn't 3 misdemeanors in Eau Claire or Rhinelander be the equivalent of like 10 in Milwaukee?

To answer your bonus question, I would say not necessarily but maybe (at least for a period of time maybe). The concept about repeat misdemeanors is about a trend over time. So once you've been clean for a while, your limitation is lifted. Besides, if you are a repeated Class A (the worst class) misdemeanor, you have shown that you are more of a threat to society than someone with none. It seems obvious to me (but I won't claim it for others) that voting doesn't bring the threat to society so clearly that someone with a rap sheet keeping a concealed weapon.
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scott.jpgScott - 6225 Posts
05/03/2012 @ 01:25:31 PM
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http://www.ajc.com/news/newton-county-neighbors-charged-1424231.html

Apparently there is some confusion among some 2nd ammendment practitioners. The constitution says you have the right to keep and bear arms. It does not give you the right to point a gun at someone's head, verbally threaten to shoot them, hold them against their will, all on an extremely vague suspicion of burglary despite their "gun-to-the-head-denial".
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Scott edited this 2 times, last at 05/03/2012 1:27:31 pm
jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8989 Posts
05/07/2012 @ 11:13:05 AM
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Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the right to be a vigilante douche bag is in there somewhere.
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - 4131 Posts
05/07/2012 @ 06:07:16 PM
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Jeremy Wrote - Today @ 11:13:05 AM
Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the right to be a vigilante douche bag is in there somewhere.
This doesn't really apply here, but I'm posting the link anyway. Seems semi-appropriate.
http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2012/05/07/braun-rodgers-team-up-for-brookfield.html
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scott.jpgScott - On your mark...get set...Terrible!
05/09/2012 @ 02:21:47 PM
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Sarah Wrote - 05/07/2012 @ 06:07:16 PM
Jeremy Wrote - 05/07/2012 @ 11:13:05 AM
Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the right to be a vigilante douche bag is in there somewhere.
This doesn't really apply here, but I'm posting the link anyway. Seems semi-appropriate. http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2012/05/07/braun-rodgers-team-up-for-brookfield.html


I didn't think anything of this at first, but the name of the restaurant is going to be "8*twelve". In other words, the is an asterisk after Braun's number. #prfail
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hoochpage.JPGSarah - 4131 Posts
05/09/2012 @ 02:36:16 PM
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Scott Wrote - Today @ 02:21:47 PM
Sarah Wrote - 05/07/2012 @ 06:07:16 PM
Jeremy Wrote - 05/07/2012 @ 11:13:05 AM
Are you sure? I'm pretty sure the right to be a vigilante douche bag is in there somewhere.
This doesn't really apply here, but I'm posting the link anyway. Seems semi-appropriate. http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2012/05/07/braun-rodgers-team-up-for-brookfield.html


I didn't think anything of this at first, but the name of the restaurant is going to be "8*twelve". In other words, the is an asterisk after Braun's number. #prfail

Ha, I didn't even think of that.
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