Even my conservative friend in Milwaukee called these two guys knuckleheads for not doing concealed carry advocates any favors.
I've always contended the that small fraction of hobbyist gun owners and potential carriers don't seem to care one bit about public safety and everyone else's freedom to not have strangers with loaded guns around their families. I'm including much of the story here because it's important to understand how useless reasoning is when dealing with these people;
|Here's what an AR-15 looks like....|
jsonline: Two men heading to Appleton's downtown farmers market with AR-15 rifles slung over their shoulders and handguns in holsters swiftly attracted the attention of police officers last weekend. The men, Charles Branstrom, 27, and Ross Bauman, 22, ultimately were released without tickets or charges.
Branstrom recorded the confrontation with Appleton Police.
Milwaukee's police chief ridiculed the pair. "In a post Aurora-Newtown environment, it's a reckless and irresponsible stunt to strut around in public with an assault-style weapon and think police should assume you're well-intentioned," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said Thursday, referring to mass shooting incidents in Colorado and Connecticut. "It's just absurd," Flynn said.
Police were trying to appeal to the practical side of carrying a gun in public, and hoping this was one of those learning moments. It wasn't. According to their recording:
The men are walking down the street when they see a police car's lights go on and they see officers approaching. As the officers order the men to put their hands against the wall, the police ask why they're carrying the guns that way.
"For self-defense," Branstrom says.
"These are real AR-15s guys. I'll cover them both," says one officer, who levels his own weapon at the men as another officer begins questioning them.
Police ask if the men are headed to the farmers market. "Yeah, we were just going to do some shopping," Branstrom says.
"Do you understand how that might create a disturbance if you're walking around with an AR-15 strapped to your back?" asks an officer.
"Yeah, I guess some people don't like guns," Branstrom replies.
One officer offers this parting comment: "I get what you guys are trying to do. ... But when you grow up a little bit and you're a parent and have kids at an event like this and you see someone walk through with guns strapped to their back, your first inclination is going to be, 'All right, what's this guy up to? Is my child going to be safe?'"
Branstrom, an Appleton truck mechanic, said he gets that argument, but said police just "provoked more fear and panic" the way the rolled up on him and Bauman. "I'm still kind of shaken," he said. "I was one nervous twitch away from having a bullet put in me," he said.