Wisconsin Supreme Court: Gun in glovebox broke concealed carry law

The state’s high court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a man charged by Milwaukee police over a handgun in his car, citing he did not have a carry permit.

In a 6-1 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed previous rulings in the case of Brian Grandberry, who was charged over a loaded handgun discovered by police in his glove compartment. The man argued the state’s laws on transporting guns didn’t square with Wisconsin’s concealed carry statutes. The court did not agree.

According to court documents, two Milwaukee Police officers stopped Grandberry in 2014 and found the loaded .45-caliber Hi-Point pistol in his car, for which he at first said he had a concealed carry permit for but then admitted that he did not. Charged with carrying a concealed and dangerous weapon under Wisconsin law, Grandberry appealed his conviction arguing that, when compared to the state’s safe transport law which allows guns to be transported without a permit so long as they are out of reach, the concealed carry regulations were unconstitutionally vague. Going further, he told the court that the glove compartment in which he placed his gun would not open when the passenger seat was occupied, so the gun was not truly “within reach” under the law.

“Grandberry could not reasonably believe that placing a firearm in the glovebox of his motor vehicle is permitted under the terms of the Concealed Carry Statute — something Grandberry obliquely acknowledged at the time of his arrest when he told the arresting officers (untruthfully) that he possessed a concealed carry license,” said Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman for the panel.

In dissenting from the majority, Justice Rebecca Bradley argued Wisconsin law did prove problematic when it came to legally transporting firearms without a carry license.

“For example, how is a 19-year-old who owns a handgun for personal protection supposed to transport her handgun from her home to her grandmother’s house for the holidays while driving her subcompact hatchback car?” said Bradley. “She simply cannot do so without violating [state law] and subjecting herself to criminal liability.”

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