Open-carry activist responsible for law change in Wisconsin

An open-carry activist exploited a discrepancy between state and county law in Wisconsin this past weekend, opening the door for a rewrite of the county ordinance that prohibits open carry in parks.

Bill Polster, a proud gun owner, was walking through Calumet County Park with two firearms on his person that were both in plain sight despite the fact that county law bans open carry.

“He had a sidearm, but he also had a weapon slung across his back, dressed in black,” Chief Deputy Brett Bowe of the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office told Fox 11.

Though he was violating the county’s ban on open carry, Polster was aware that state law permits law-abiding gun owners to tote firearms openly in public parks.

Yet, the two police officers that confronted him appeared a bit confused by the situation at first.

“If an individual is carrying a firearm, it’s not unlikely that we’re not going to draw our firearm in preparation,” said Bowe, of the responding officers, one of which pointed his gun at Polster.

Polster was not pleased with the deputies reaction, to say the least.

“Not proud of the vulgarity, but I definitely was not happy with having a rifle pointed at me,” said Polster.

As a result of the incident, officials plan to update the books so that the county’s gun laws accord with those imposed by the state. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department will cease enforcing the prohibition on open carry in county parks.

“Obviously there is no hunting in the county park. Those were covered under that ordinance. We’re going to have to redo that ordinance to cover those specifically while allowing open carry,” explained Bowe.

In response to news that they’re fixing the law, Polster said, “I am hopeful that they do update the law so it is in line with the state.”

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • B C June 2, 2015, 2:13 pm

    lifeisdeath hits the nail square on it’s head!

    you “pro-choicers” are so willing to conform to the laws that bureaucrats set for you, it’s not even funny!

    there is a difference when some1 is walkin around in the alert and ready position, as opposed to laidback and at rest (holstered or slung on shoulder/back) position.

    y’all are the sheeple that are givin gun owners a bad name………SHAME ON YOU!

  • Lee Adelman August 4, 2014, 1:25 pm

    This open carry of long guns has got to stop. While not necessarily the case here, this open carry Texas movement and those like it are BEGGING for trouble. Not only will it result in stricter gun control laws from even gun friendly states, it sets the stage for a potentially very dangerous situation between legal and “well intentioned” gun owners. As a gun carrier myself, if I saw two AR-15 people coming into a store with guns strapped to their shoulder, my spike zone would be at peak, waiting for the unsligging of the rifle, which could happen very quickly. Needless to say, this would be a very dangerous situation. Open carrying handguns, which are carried in a holster, are a long way from an AR-15 or any rifle, being openly carried on a sling. Just because we have a right to a thing, does not mean we should always push it. Got it?

    • Lifeisdeath August 5, 2014, 12:51 am

      yeah, and limit the first amendment to only speech you agree with, right? make the 4th so that they can seize your property only if they REALLY REALLY want it. it just makes sense.

      you guys and your ilk are the reason gun laws are as restrictive as they are. there should be one law. and it shall not be infringed.

      if you need a permit to exercise a right, it is no longer a right, but a privilege granted by your oppressors.

  • Martin August 4, 2014, 1:00 pm

    another idiot who wants to play the big man,,purposely scaring the public to make yourself look like a big man is STUPID,,and giving the anti-gun crowd more reasons to hate us,,,i for one he would have been arrested for creating a public disturbance in the least…what a know it all retard,,,thanks idiot.

  • Atty. Donn Atanasoff August 4, 2014, 12:55 pm

    The guy is a troublemaker, and only looking for attention. Displaying in a public park, if there are other people and kids around doing normal park activities etc. is requesting conflict w/ law enforcement, and intended to disrupt the other users and uses. It appears he is trying to force the fine line between hunting on public property, and appropriate restrictions on the right to carry in certain public places. The constitution authorizes government restriction of rights in numerous areas of human conduct and activity. It directs Gov’t power to concentrate on the terms of appropriate “time, place and manner”.

    I believe the county ordinance(s) here are appropriate. The troublemaker is causing harm to all, by not respecting the system and making his selfish “protest”. The local regs appear to be based on valid and proper public safety concerns. Many do not understand how next to impossible it is to write law and regs that address each and every situation, circumstance or condition. That is to say one public park area (say recently donated by a wealthy family or corp) is perfect for hunting etc, yet the next public park, maintained by the county, is perfect for the kids and family to picnic and play. Hats of to WI for writing a carry law that clearly favors responsible firearm possession and use by individuals. (SB 93, 2011). Bottom line, some people abuse the right to carry, intending to make life for others more difficult. They also provide a good supply of clients for attorneys like me.

    • Lifeisdeath August 5, 2014, 12:45 am

      get a refund for your “law” degree.

    • TRob ARob August 27, 2014, 1:51 pm

      You show yourself as an atty, but you don’t even know the law. State law supercedes the county law. He had an enumerated right in the law to walk through the park. He was peaceable and had no hands on any firearms when approached. He eloquently articulated that state law superceded county law and was NOT arrested. This had NOTHING to do with hunting in a county park. This had NOTHING to do with hunting at all. If one does not exercise a right, how does one know that the right exists??
      In addition, he did nothing to cause undo alarm or disturbance from others in the park enjoying the use(s) of the park. LE did their job as they know it, and there will be a correction in the law, though it should be abolished altogether. (I’m almost certain that it is already illegal to discharge a firearm within certain stated areas by state and local laws, so the park is already covered.) As to writing laws to cover all situations, don’t try. The state already covered that situation. Educate yourselves and fix the laws that are contrary to state law.
      As for his dress, he did not have on a trench coat and glasses. He had on a black shirt and black cap. His face was not concealed and he was not walking in a fast/hurried/menacing pace. He immediately complied with the exception of telling the officer to not point the rifle at him.

  • Jeff August 4, 2014, 9:02 am

    Another idiot giving the media an opportunity to supply the anti-gunners an example to reference. I wonder how this fool would feel if I strolled through his yard with a few firearms at the ready. We can only hope that he is not propagating his gene pool.

    • Mark Hart August 4, 2014, 11:51 am

      It didn’t say he was carrying his weapons “at the ready” . I believe in open carry, and think that it would deter many criminals from following through with their intentions upon seeing someone who is openly carrying a weapon.

  • Mike August 4, 2014, 6:56 am

    Thanks big guy. Scaring people in a public park really helps our cause. When you scare cops and the general public agrees with them, there will be no resistance to some liberal gun control politician passing a restriction law. Wisconsin now has conceal laws, why not be content being protected without being a target?

    • Mike August 4, 2014, 8:01 am

      Divide and conquer. That’s how our rights get subverted.If you believe in the second amendment right to KEEP and BEAR arms you should be supportive of open carry.

  • Matthew August 2, 2014, 7:16 am

    So this dummy went to the park to risk his life so that they would change the law to restrict his rights even more. This guy is one of the reasons some people think gun owners are wacky. This is the dumbest ways to get a law changed anyway why would he want them to change the law to not allow open carry in a park? This makes no sense other than he just wants attention daddy must have not paid attention to him growing up.

  • Matthew August 2, 2014, 7:16 am

    So this dummy went to the park to risk his life so that they would change the law to restrict his rights even more. This guy is one of the reasons some people think gun owners are wacky. This is the dumbest ways to get a law changed anyway why would he want them to change the law to not allow open carry in a park? This makes no since other than he just wants attention daddy must have not paid attention to him growing up.

    • Gun Talk August 2, 2014, 10:43 am

      Sorry to say that you are VERY mistaken. We had called the sheriff and informed him of the problem. His reply was, I don’t care, I don’t agree with the state law.

      Please get the facts before passing judgement.

    • Chen August 3, 2014, 3:24 am

      Really? An 11 paragraph article was too much for you to understand? They are updating the county laws to stay in line with state law. State law allows open carry. Therefore county law will also now allow open carry, but still bans hunting.

      Gun owners that don’t use their brains are screwing all of us who openly defy the government infringements.

      Daddy must not have helped with high school English homework…

      • Mike August 4, 2014, 7:17 am

        “An open-carry activist exploited a discrepancy between state and county law in Wisconsin this past weekend”
        Did he contact his state/county representatives? I don’t know, not mentioned.
        Did he go to the partk with a table to to collect signatures for a movement to have the laws brought into sync? NO.
        He brought TWO firearms, including a weapon slung across his back (BB gun/shotgun/assault rifle not mentioned, poor reporting), purposely dressed in a manner not uncommon with shooting-spree perpetrators
        went to a public place IN DELIBERATE SEARCH of a confrontation.
        I support the right to carry and do so myself but this guy is slightly unhinged, I would feel safer if his weapons permit limited him to bad breath and colorful language.

        • Will August 4, 2014, 12:35 pm

          He doesn’t need to go to the park with a TABLET to get signatures when the county law is in violation of the state law. He did contact the county sheriff about it only to get the response mentioned above. So he DID what was necessary to get a CONTRADICTIVE lower authority law removed. Most states have the same requirements that when a lower authority law goes against a state law, the state takes precedence; unless the state has given lower said authorities the option to make their own laws, but no state that I know of has ever given lower authorities to go against state laws.

        • BUURGA August 4, 2014, 4:22 pm

          Why should he have to contact anyone for permission to observe a right the law has already granted? Did he go overboard in the manner he handled it? Maybe. The ‘freak out’ effect would be unsettling to some people there, hut that’s another argument entirely. A single side arm may have been more appropriate and easier to ‘handle’ for the people around him. But, in the end no one was hurt and the point was made.

    • RexRoyal August 4, 2014, 10:10 am

      My pet peeve is when guys like this try to act intelligent, yet cannot even write a paragraph void of run-on sentences and misuse of plurals, etc, and such

      • dink winkerson August 6, 2014, 10:16 am

        Grammar nazi.

        • zenmonger June 23, 2017, 10:07 am

          Gotta love losers like you who defend illiteracy.

    • Invidia Absit August 4, 2014, 11:13 am

      UIm, well, you just don’t get civil disobedience then do you?

    • Ia Wisconson Hunter August 6, 2014, 10:02 am

      See it’s dumb ass replys (mathew )like this . Guy had the balls to a reaction and worked towards gettingva law changed. What have you done lately matt to help ? Most likely nothing , yr just someone hiding behind a computer whinny and call names. Shut up and be involved

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