Madison Wisconsin Pays $10,000 in Settlement to Open Carriers

Back in Sept. of 2010, five men walked into a Culver’s restaurant in Madison, WI.  They were all carrying holstered handguns

It didn’t take long for someone in the restaurant to call the police.  When the police arrived they asked the men to provide identification. 

Since there was no disturbance, no commotion, no malice aforethought, the five men were there to grab some grub, two of the men refused to show ID. 

The police ticketed the two men who refused to provide ID for obstruction of justice (those chargers were eventually dropped) and all five men were cited for disorderly conduct.

Following the incident, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen reminded law enforcement that a disorderly conduct charge did not apply to individuals openly carrying a firearm absent some other factor. 

In short, law enforcement cannot charge an individual with ‘discon’ for simply carrying a firearm. 

Hearing news of the incident, Wisconsin Carry Inc., a guns rights advocacy group, stepped in to provide legal counsel to the five men. 

With assistance of Georgia gun rights attorney John Monroe, the men filed a federal lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, against the City of Madison and Police Chief Noble Wray.

The lawsuit argued:

“The City of Madison may not deny individuals the right to carry handguns in nonsensitive places, deprive individuals of the right to carry handguns in an arbitrary and capricious manner, or enforce its laws, customs and practices through its police department or impose regulations on the right to carry handguns that are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, § 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution.”

In May of 2011, the prosecutors dropped the disorderly conduct charges. 

And last month, the City of Madison agreed to settle the claim and pay $10,000 for damages. 

This marked another win for Wisconsin Carry and Attorney John Monroe, who together have a track record for defending the rights of law-abiding gun owners in court. 

Thus far, the partnership has won federal lawsuits for people who were arrested after openly carrying guns on their porch, ($10,000), a church ($7,500) and other allowable areas ($6,500).