Friday, December 9th, 2016

More bang for your prayer

3

Jessica McBride’s column this week in the Waukesha Freeman (still less than a Snickers bar on Saturday, and better for you) did an excellent job of exploring the questions regarding the decision by Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel to not prosecute Krysta Sutterfield.

So often, when it comes to gun issues, especially in this region of the state, people’s first instinct is to argue the issue emotionally. “Gun in a church” doesn’t sound so good at first blush. But, logically, I think Schimel was reasoned and right.

Our attorney general has already opined that people have a right to open carry firearms in this state – or that it can’t be a basis by itself for disorderly conduct, at any rate. Thus, one thing is explicitly clear: Krysta Sutterfield had a right to open carry the gun in the church, which did not have a sign posted then banning firearms on its premises.

We also have a state Constitutional amendment certifying the right to carry arms. The state’s highest court has even ruled that a store owner in Milwaukee could conceal carry because he worked in a high-crime area.

However, I don’t think people like Sutterfield help the “open carry” movement. Let’s face it: Most people would find it very jarring to see someone open carrying a firearm in a church.

Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t mean it’s smart to do it. I’m not going to be one of those people who will praise Sutterfield as some poster girl for gun rights. It’s hard to imagine she needed the gun to defend herself in this context. She was, after all, in a church. Why not make the Second Amendment point elsewhere?

Our friend Jessica helpfully suggests that the way to avoid these kinds of demonstrations and panics is to just pass the concealed carry law. But as Jessica pointed out, rational thought rarely enters into this debate. Sometimes it’s abandoned on both sides of the issue.

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