Open Carry In Wisconsin

Below is the City of West Allis case regarding Brad Krause that brought about the open carry memo by Wisconsin Attorney General J.P. Van Hollen.

There is a more recent case regarding open carry in the news from Madison: ‘Open carry’ group pledges to sue police for issuing citations

From an email by Gene German – The Wisconsin Gun Rights Examiner

A lawsuit has been filed in Federal court against the City of West Allis by Brad Krause, the man arrested at gunpoint while planting a tree.


In August of 2008 Brad was enjoying the summer weather by planting a tree in his yard when a neighbor called the West Allis Police Department wondering if a person can wear a holstered firearm within city limits. Police responded by sending two squad cars to Brad’s residence where they found him digging a hole for the tree lying on the ground next to him. The officers immediately drew their weapons and handcuffed him at gunpoint.


After forty-five minutes of standing in his yard trying to figure out what crime they could charge him with, police finally decided to place Brad under arrest for Disorderly Conduct While Armed. Brad had to post bail and was to appear in front of the Drug and Gun unit Monday morning. Since the arrest occurred late Friday night, there wasn’t even time for him to obtain an attorney.

After reviewing the case the District Attorney’s office for Wisconsin decided to postpone, and later drop the charges. The City of West Allis, however, had no intention of letting Brad–nor anyone else for that matter–exercise their lawful right to carry a sidearm for personal protection, and continued to prosecute even though no law was broken.

At the first hearing an officer testified he saw a man with a holstered sidearm planting a tree, so he called for backup. When a second officer arrived, both drew their guns and pointed them at Brad while shouting orders with fingers on the triggers, ready to plant the environmentalist six feet under. Brad’s attorney asked what provoked the officers to use deadly force in such an uneventful situation. Both officers answered, “He had a gun.”

Other than re-confirming the fact that Brad was lawfully armed, the prosecution offered no other evidence, basing the entire case on lawful possession being unlawful because…they said so. Judge Paul Murphy found Brad not guilty and dismissed the charges.

The case helped convince Wisconsin’s Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to issue a memorandum on April 20th, 2009 to law enforcement stating open carry is lawful, and in the absence of any other suspicion of criminal activity, is not by itself disorderly conduct. Van Hollen also advised police what constitutes lawful detention–a “Terry stop,” and also unlawful contact with armed citizens–a Fourth Amendment violation.


What makes this case so serious is the extreme extent to which the city of West Allis has gone to make Brad’s life as difficult as possible, even after Judge Murphy exonerated him. The city knows for certain Brad never broke any law by carrying a sidearm and that he continues to not break any state firearms law, yet police continue to closely monitor him as if he were a dangerous criminal. (If only they would expend those resources to monitor real criminals that closely!)

Police have repeatedly warned Brad of another arrest if he does not bend to their will and stop exercising his statutory authority under Wisconsin Statute 941.23 to openly carry a gun, which is further protected by Article 1 Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution. Compounding the problem for the city, state law preempts them from regulating firearms (Wisconsin Statute 66.0409).

West Allis solution to circumvent your rights and state law was to create a defacto carry ban through their police powers by creating a “police policy” to unlawfully threaten and arrest citizens who lawfully carry. West Allis Deputy Chief Rick Balistrieri brazenly admitted to having this police policy immediately after Judge Paul Murphy’s verdict was issued in Brad’s case. Deputy Chief Balistrieri said Judge Murphy’s verdict finding Brad innocent won’t change the way his officers respond to similar calls regarding lawfully armed citizens.


The police acted out their threat in a very public attempt to arrest Brad a second time, just one day after the Attorney General issued his memorandum on open carry, even after Brad made repeated attempts to reach a reasonable understanding with several West Allis government agencies. This time, Brad was being interviewed on the sidewalk in front of his home by a Milwaukee TV station when two West Allis squads suddenly stopped in the middle of the street with all their blinky lights on.

The news camera captured the interrogation as three more squads provided back up support for the dangerous situation police created for Brad–and for themselves. Officers said that had the TV crew not been there they would have put Brad face down on the ground at gunpoint and decided if they would allow him to exercise his rights, or put him back in jail.

This example of the repeated police interaction with Brad makes it clear the police ignored state law, the Attorney General’s clear instruction on proper police contact with a lawfully armed citizen, police training on specific conditions when it is proper (or not) for police to use lethal force, and the recent decision of the court finding the police wrongfully arrested Brad. No, this was not a case of ignorant police officers flying by the seat of their pants; this is instead proof of the West Allis police department continuing their defacto carry ban to unlawfully disarm citizens.

Apparently, the city and police view citizens who exercise their liberty as a threat to the power and control they have seized over the lives of their subjects. Brad said that after two long years the city has not fundamentally changed its policing policy and has left him no choice but to file a complaint in support of his civil rights.


Are you wondering why the gun organizations that keep begging for money to defend “gun rights” haven’t told you about this? They’ve said for years “nothing will happen until we get a new governor.” That idea was turned upside-down when the state’s case against Brad fell apart and the city’s case was crushed. The local and national news agencies, not the “gun rights” groups, were the ones to cover the story.

“Gun rights” groups aren’t about “your rights,” they’re about guns and money and politics, which is why they still make empty promises and ask for more and more of your money. While they continue to try to blow smoke up your skirt, Brad has been playing whack-a-mole with his own and surrounding communities that pop up with illegal bans on your rights. We need to back the guy doing the job and getting results, not those who keep promising to do something somewhere in the future–and only if you give them more money!


It is no coincidence that Brad had to prepare and file his own lawsuit, at his own expense. Federal law makes it exceedingly difficult to recover damages and restore a person’s life and liberty when the government decides to take them away, and most attorneys fear being seen as “fighting the system” of which they are a part. Brad has to continue to educate himself on federal law and bear the cost and burden of bringing a case against the establishment, something few people are willing to do. This is not the as-seen-on-TV one-hour show where the good guy wins in the last seven minutes, but the real life justice system where you’re the little guy with the deck stacked against you by the political ruling class with an un-ending stream of your heavily taxed income to use against you.


Civil lawsuits are very expensive and every step of the way costs more money. The city has an endless amount of money and lawyers. Brad has neither, but he does have a good case that needs to be fought. Even if you don’t live in West Allis, you are a stakeholder in this case. You have one person who is literally willing to fight city hall, but he can’t do it successfully by himself.

I am asking for your financial help, not for the Wisconsin Patriots but for Brad Krause. Think of this as an investment you can make that will send a strong message across the state which should put an end to unlawful police harassment. A win and substantial damages will be noticed by every Police Chief, Mayor, City Council member, and the Legislature, which is why winning this case is in every liberty-loving person’s best interest.

Should Brad prevail, he will return contributions made for his legal assistance from any money that he receives from the City of West Allis. Brad’s win is also your win, and Brad’s loss is also your loss.

Supporting Brad with a contribution increases the chance that he can win this case for everyone.


A legal assistance account has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank (which supports our rights and welcomes lawfully armed customers) under account number 1916044413. Freedom may not be free, but you can defend your rights (without being arrested) in one of several ways:

Wells Fargo customers can transfer money on-line for free.

To make an electronic funds transfer from another bank, use Wells Fargo routing number 075911988.

You can deposit a check or cash at any Wells Fargo office by referencing Brad Krause and account number 1916044413.

You can even use PayPal using the e-mail address, selecting the “Personal” tab then “Other”.

Please be sure to inform Brad ( of your contribution including the date made, the amount, and your contact information (include your preferred e-mail address). PayPal users can include this information in the comments section.

PLEASE forward this email to everyone you know who may be willing to help Brad stand up for our rights! Don’t wait for a hollow promise of “tomorrow” when someone is succeeding today.


Attorney General memorandum on open carry & the West Allis case:

Click to access FinalOpenCarryMemo.pdf

Wisconsin Statute 941.23:

Click to access Stat0941.pdf

Article 1 Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution

Click to access wisconst.pdf

Wisconsin Statute 66.0409:

Click to access Stat0066.pdf

WISN 12 interview and near arrest:

Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel article reporting the civil claim: <;

It’s about liberty, your liberty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: