World Traveler Reports on Wisconsin Open Carry and Walmart Request

(Photo: Gun Watch/Dean Weingarten)

By Dean Weingarten

A Wisconsin Walmart manager recently followed store policy in Northern Wisconsin. They interacted with a long term friend of mine.

He is an accomplished world traveler, due to his vocation as a missionary. He has traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has often remarked about how little freedom most of the world has, compared to the United States.

He is a brave man. I marvel at the dangers he considers routine.  When in the United States, he openly carries a sidearm, most commonly a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol.  He says liberty, unclaimed and unused, is easier to lose.

Here is his report of open carry experiences in Wisconsin over the last six months:


I open carry in Wisconsin on a very regular basis, rarely do I have someone say anything to me about it, but every now and then… 

Last fall I was standing in line to pay for a coffee at our local Kwik Trip convenience store. I was openly carrying my Glock 22. I noticed a man look at me and then go about his business. As I went out to my truck he came outside.

He said, “Sir, is it legal to carry a pistol like that in public?” I replied yes it is, both our American constitution as well as our Wisconsin constitution protect the right to keep and carry arms.”

He then said, “Oh, you have a permit to carry.” 

I replied, “No permit is required to carry openly in the State of Wisconsin. 

This man was both shocked and excited. He thought he must have a permit to carry, and confided that he was wanting to do that, but was afraid the process would be long and expensive.

I informed him it is not; while waiting, he should study up on our gun laws and carry. He was very thankful.

Several weeks ago I walked into an Aldis grocery store. Several people took note I was openly carrying but did not say anything. 

As I walked out of the store, a car was approaching. I waited for it to pass and then proceeded to cross the parking lot. The driver of the vehicle got out of his car and crossed the parking lot and said, “Sir, I want to thank you.” I asked him “What for?”  

He replied, “I want to thank you for carrying your sidearm in plain view. It does my heart good when I see people doing that. I feel safe and comforted in knowing if a wacko walks into an establishment with malicious intent, and sees someone who is armed, most likely he will change his mind, as he is looking to hurt, not be shot.  Thank you for using your rights.” 

As we talked he thanked me again for open carrying and said that I had given that push he needed to start carrying himself. I told him, more people need to be using their liberty. Liberty unclaimed, unused, is easier to lose.

Today, a buddy and I walked into Walmart. I go into Walmart several times a week open carrying.  I have never had anyone say anything to me, but today was different.

(Photo: Gun Watch/Dean Weingarten)

I was carrying my Glock 22. Today was a two mag day. My buddy was carrying his nickel-plated .45 Long Colt on a western-style gun belt. It is a very flashy pistol. We did our shopping. Upon entering the checkout line, a look of panic appeared on the face of a cashier standing nearby.  She called the manager.

The manager came over and said, “Men, I respect you, but we have a policy that you not carry openly in our store. So, I respectfully ask you to conceal your pistols.” 

We pulled shirts out of pants and covered up the guns. I said, “Concealed.” 

I asked why there was no sign. She said there is a sign on the door. I had never seen such a sign on the door. I asked her to point it out. It was a 2-inch phrase in the corner of a general sign. I had never seen it before. 

The lady was very respectful, as were we. She said she has a concealed carry permit and frequently carries. She said, she understands our desire to carry. She thanked us for exercising that right, but apologized and referred to store policy. I told her I believe their sign does not meet the legal requirements. We talked some more and parted ways. 

Open carrying a sidearm is a wonderful way to educate the public on liberty and our God-given rights. Brush up on talking points and Carry on.


Not everyone is as brave as my friend. As the exercise of Second Amendment rights becomes more common, less courage is required. 

A pleasant conversation with a friendly store manager is nothing compared to being locked in a Russian jail, or using a knife to fight off attacking dogs. 
The fight for liberty in America is still at the talking, writing, and voting stage.  It is better and easier to win at those stages, than to go through the horrors of war our forefathers experienced.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  • Clint W. March 21, 2022, 2:14 pm

    We have a law or regulation in this state that allows someone to be afraid of someone who is carrying either open or concealed. They call the law, report they are afraid, and the police come to investigate. You could be the Pope himself with a .45 holstered on your frock, but if someone calls the law, they will come and talk to you.

  • Willie-O July 21, 2021, 1:52 am

    Open-carry is a tactical disadvantage in most situations – NEVER underestimate the advantage provided by the element of surprise. I’m a former LE officer and currently own a private armed security company. Different clients prefer, request and many times insist on a uniformed presence, including open carry – right or wrong they consider it a deterrent. When I’m not working in the field, I ALWAYS carry and it’s ALWAYS concealed. It’s a personal choice, but anti-gun and even some that have a neutral position are usually made uncomfortable by open carry by anyone not obviously LE or security. While I’m not terribly concerned about their feelings, I know I’m not going to change their minds – if anything, likely the opposite. Why ? I’m comfortable with the tactical advantage concealed carry provides. I dress around my firearm/holster and practice accordingly. Have for years and still do. Regularly. Do what works for you, but really think it thru first and keep an open mind. I know who I’m going to vote for, but I don’t feel the need to put their bumper-sticker on my vehicle. I know I’m carrying and well prepared to do what needs to be done if the need arises and I’m the only one that needs to know that.

  • Charles Brannon July 10, 2020, 6:13 pm

    Unfortunately, if a person is employed at walmart and carries, either openly or concealed, he/she will be fired on the spot. I have been told that this rule still applies even when the employee is on an off day.

  • KO July 10, 2020, 11:09 am

    Most 2A supporters have decided where they stand on the practical trade-offs between open and concealed carry. I prefer concealed (in spite of certain disadvantages) primarily because I see open carriers as trying to make a huge political statement. Whether you realize it, care, or not, we live in a world where our every move is scrutinized by armchair experts and hand-wringing cracktivists who are just straining at the bit for an opportunity to scream at the world “look see there I told you so!”

    There are millions of Americans who are utterly clueless about the realities of private firearm ownership. They have grown up, in many cases, programmed by MSM and liberal families to believe that sheepdom is the path to peace and prosperity, and that firearms owners are all crazy right wing white-nationalist preppers looking to take down the government. Many may never be reachable, no matter how many fervor-free, calm-voiced, logic-filled discussions we try to have them.

    Others might be. The ones that simply have no experience with, or active interest in, gun-ownership or self defense. They may have considered gun ownership after being victimized or when recognizing that they are potential victims…and may have NOT fully decided that sheepdom is the path for them, and more importantly, they might NOT have not yet decided that it is the path for YOU. Perhaps these “gun-curious” fence sitters could be converted to fellow gun owners and responsible carriers.

    Despite their interest, they might still be fearful of or intimidated by gun owners, gun culture and specifically guns themselves. When they encounter an open carrier in public they may literally cringe with anxiety, sometimes visibly. Make it an AR and they may actually foul themselves. Heck anybody near me with a gun (cops included!) gives me pause…and I’ve been around guns for 45 years.

    Do you want to make a loud scary political statement and risk alienating a potential ally in the endless fight to keep our freedoms? Maybe you don’t intend to make a political statement when you open carry, but you do nonetheless.

    Maybe consider pairing your tricked out Glock or Yosemite Sam six gun (and matching, over-accessorized duty belt) with a friendly T shirt that invites a question from the fence sitters around you…the printed phrase could be something like “It’s OK to ask…I promise I won’t bite”

    This could, of course, just as easily draw the attention of nearby snowflake cracktivists…but hey, freedom equals risk.

  • Ken July 10, 2020, 10:25 am

    I am a gun guy ; decorated Vietnam vet; former contractor; been carrying since age 15, etc.

    I wonder if open carry is not causing backlash by those that feel intimidated when they see obvious civilians carrying firearms?

    I don’t open carry but for short whiles while pumping gas. I make it a point to carry a vest in my car that I can cover with if I have to go inside of a public place.

    I think all those guys protesting with long arms scare the hell out of non gun folks and that it may come back to haunt us.

  • Damon July 10, 2020, 10:15 am

    I usually carry concealed, but I would feel so much better if every competent US citizen was carrying openly. When I was a cop, the uniform I wore the most (while not doing ERT/tactical ops) was the khaki pants, black Police polo and duty belt with all the crap (gun, radio, Taser, Asp, cuffs, mags, etc.), but I wasn’t in the bold police uniform. Many people were caught off guard when they see my gun/duty equipment. It was noticeable. I wish our society was more accustomed to seeing openly armed people. I’ve lived in countries where every military-aged male was carrying a firearm and/or a giant knife (Jambiya). Heck, every now and then you’d see a guy rolling around with an RPG-7 in his backseat… just in case. Those are very polite societies (when not engaged in civil war).

  • Joe July 10, 2020, 9:06 am

    My rights do not need to hidden behind a shirt. Deterrence is preferable to force. Carry where you please but do not presume to tell me how to wear my weapon, your opinion is neither appreciated nor will I comply.

  • Wilko July 10, 2020, 8:25 am

    Open carry can also has some disadvantages. No one can be 360 degree vigilant. If a convicted felon wants a gun and has a blunt object (concealed), sees your gun and gets the drop on you, he may have your firearm and you may have, at least, a concussion.

    A secondary benefit of concealed carry is, when you need to present the firearm, surprise. The shock affect of unexpectedly being confronted with a weapon has value in many confrontations. Granted, you might not have been confronted at all if the aggressor realized you were armed. But, if you have a determined nut case, he is forewarned to attack quickly and violently. How fast is your draw?

    An openly carried weapon can also be a “shoot me first” signal. Do as you feel best for you. I carry a weapon 100% of the time when I have clothes on. I also carry it concealed 95% of the time.

  • Greg J Kremer July 10, 2020, 8:01 am

    Sorry guys- this is a topic where I’ll never be on your side despite a life-long 2A supporter & concealed carrier.
    I think open carry is ignorant & stupid in today’s world unless you’re on duty LEO/security. The main thing your open carry does, my opin, is DRAW ATTENTION to yourself. Period. Honestly, does that feed your ego & drive this topic subconsciously?
    You immediately show a bad guy who he needs to take-out first. You put most people on edge wondering if you’re a nut; WHY do that? CONCEAL the damn weapon & quietly know you are ready to protect. THAT is what our world needs today… confident & competent 2A-strong GOOD men & women carrying without the idiots & bad peeps knowing.
    My ego is 100% fine with that. Yours?

    • Wynndale L. Stringer July 10, 2020, 8:49 am


    • Murdock July 10, 2020, 8:56 am

      Sir, it seems you are the type who worries about what other people think at the detriment of people who choose to open carry.

      You state, “You put most people on edge wondering if you’re a nut; WHY do that?”

      It’s not your or anyone else’s problem what others think, it’s their own issue and problem. It is of no concern to anyone else. If it’s legal, do it if you want to.

      Openly carrying may make you a target, but that is a chance openly carrying citizens accept and take. Who are you to tell them what to do?

      Openly carrying is a form of deterrence and patriotism.

    • paul July 10, 2020, 9:26 am

      Your comment tells me the system in place works. I would say to you that opining those that open carry are wrong is as misguided as asking why you need high capacity magazines. You may be proud of the fact you conceal carry 95% of the time and that because of the 2nd amendment. Guys that open carry are protected by the same rights to legally carry. Do you actually think they have not weighed the down side? Are you actually that much smarter? Remember it IS important we exercise our rights. Could I ask if 95% of the people were carrying would that eliminate the question you are concerned with? Will you further say (in your opinion) 95% of the people is too many? Remember laws and the constitution apply to all of us not most of us.

    • Michael July 10, 2020, 5:56 pm

      You must understand that not everyone can afford a ccw but know that it is up to them as the family’s first line of defense to deal with their security both home and away openly applying your constitutionally protected rights is the responsibility of all of us who love our country but it is a huge responsibility so know what your limitations are and who you are

    • MSG John Laigaie July 16, 2021, 10:17 am

      Well Greg, I have been openly carrying a well holstered 1911 in .45 for many, many years in a variety of environments. My State, Montana, has Constitutional carry. Most people do not notice my firearm because they focus on me during the conversation. Most of my towns population know I open carry ( I sit on the Town Council ) and the majority, including my Sheriff, support it. I do not understand your fear/uneasiness about the way we carry and I have never seen the actions you describe. OC not only keeps bad guys away from me (the you get shot first deal is a fallacy) but gives me the chance to educate others. I see “concealers” as people lying in wait until they get the opportunity to shoot. My State Constitution sees “concealing” as abhorrent and bans it (with exceptions). Remember my friend, An Armed society is a Polite society.

  • Pgiddy July 10, 2020, 7:22 am

    Beautiful western shooter and rig! Wow!

  • Michael July 10, 2020, 7:17 am

    FEAR is a tactic of our enemies. THEY succeed when you live in fear of them. If you live in an Open Carry State….Be Bold….Be Brave….Be Proud! Cowering to our enemies only emboldens Them! Resistance is NOT futile.

  • Daniel Taylor July 10, 2020, 4:14 am

    I welcome the opportunity to respond to the the above article. Mr. Weingarten’s viewpoint makes sense. I routinely carry concealed off duty in Utah, (and reciprocating states, if I travel). But sometimes, as a Private Security Officer, I am required to open carry on duty. The reason for this is simple: It’s called “Deterrent Presence.” An armed officer’s visibility discourages crime, and disorderly conduct. I am convinced that armed civilians have always done the same.
    In Utah, if a company, a church, or a home wishes to exclude firearms or other weapons, they must file a Letter of Intent with the Bureau of Criminal Identification. Then, a notice must be conspicuously displayed at all entrances. I have seen examples of how half-(something ending with d) some of those notices are, so, there with ya brother…
    Finally, I’ve actually fought off a few attacking dogs, with whatever I had (try a ballpoint pen for intimidation purposes, lol). But I’m glad that I could shoot if I had to.
    My ultimate point is that an armed citizenry deters crime and violence.

  • Kenneth M Cooper July 9, 2020, 5:26 pm

    I was at a Walmart in Fremont Nebraska and was asked to leave because I open carry I called the manager add another Walmart in Omaha and they said they would welcome anybody who open carry I personally would much rather see an open carry then a concealed and not knowing who’s who

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