Gun-carrying incident in Appleton draws responses
- Associated Press
- October 26, 2013 - 4:30 PM
APPLETON, Wis. — Concerned residents sent a flurry of emails to Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna last month after two men showed up armed with assault rifles near the city's farmers market, according to a new analysis.
A few emails supported the men's Second Amendment rights, but most were from residents who threatened to stay away from future public events if firearms could be present, the Post Crescent Media reported (http://post.cr/1gQB9JO ).
"As long as there are people with guns walking around this city, my family will not be," wrote Adam Fredrick, of Appleton.
The men were carrying AR-15 assault rifles legally near the market on Sept. 7. Police detained them at gunpoint and handcuffed them before eventually releasing them without tickets.
"If these idiots are this paranoid perhaps they should stay home and protect their fortress and not wander around on the streets," Mary Rutten, of Appleton, wrote of the men. "I do not want to live like this where people feel they have to carry guns to protect themselves at a public and/or family event."
Other writers were worried about how the incident might affect the city's reputation. Some asked Hanna to figure out creative ways to keep the city safe for families without violating state law.
Hanna noted that open-carry laws are governed by state statute and can't be altered by city ordinance. He added that he'd like to see the state law changed, but acknowledged that the chances of that happening are remote.
Two emailers criticized police for handcuffing and questioning the two men.
"The encounter should have been consensual (as) they have not broken any laws and are minding their own business," wrote Joseph Rugg, of New York.
State law allows for gun rules to be established for special events as long as there are designated entrances or admission fees. That could leave room for a compromise, Alderwoman Sarah Garb said. She suggested charging a $1 entrance fee to the farmers' market or setting up a rope line to constitute an entrance.
"It's a situation that calls for creative problem-solving, not throwing up our hands," Garb said.
The emails to the mayor's office were acquired through an open-records request.
© 2013 Star Tribune