As reported, a Racine, WI man was riding his bicycle when four teenage attackers knocked him to the ground. The man grabbed his openly carried pistol from his holster, pointed it at the sky, and yelled “gun!” The attackers then fled, leaving the man with only minor injuries from being knocked off his bike.
This self defense gun use has a twist, though. The man was attacked on the 1100 block of Grand Avenue in Racine, which is within 1,000 feet of the Walden School, located at 1012 Center St. Wisconsin law allows open carry, but not within 1,000 feet of a school. As a result, it is possible that this man may be charged.
I truly hope that the prosecutor in this case uses common sense, and prosecutorial discretion, to decline to charge this man for carrying the gun that allowed him to defend himself against a violent attack. Remember, under the American system of justice, prosecutors have broad discretion to charge or not charge a person, and are expected and encouraged to wisely use that discretion.
I also think that the Wisconsin law prohibiting open carry within 1,000 feet of a school is quite misguided. Firstly, it is quite difficult for a person who is riding their bike, walking down the street, or driving a car to know exactly when they are within 1,000 feet of a school. As a result, otherwise law abiding individuals who are just trying to go about their peaceful business can end up charged with a serious crime. Secondly, the law does nothing to deter school shooters, or other violent individuals, as they are not deterred by “gun free zones.”
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