A Clark County judge dismisses a concealed carry case after finding it unconstitutional.
The public defender who filed the motion to dismiss says he thinks it could be the first dismissal of its kind in Wisconsin. Bill Poss, an assistant state public defender for Clark and Jackson Counties, says the ruling will certainly set a precedent in Clark County. He says he was actually waiting for a case like this to come up so he could work to get it thrown out.
The Clark County case in question started when a man was arrested for carrying a knife in the waistband of his pants this summer. Poss says he knew right away his client was within his constitutional rights. He says he's gratified Clark County Judge Jon Counsell felt the same.
The judge "has no choice. If he actually follows the Constitution and the strict scrutiny analysis, the judge has no choice but to dismiss these types of actions," Poss says.
In his decision, Judge Counsell found the state's concealed carry law "unconstitutional on its face as overly broad in violation of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution."
“Like many of my counterparts, I believe strongly in the Constitution. And as Ronald Reagan once said 'it's not a buffet.’ The Bill of Rights is not a buffet where you can pick and choose, where some people say they want the First Amendment applied to everyone, but somehow they jump over the Second Amendment,” Poss says.
Poss says he believes the law is clearly on his side, but he knows this hot button issue is far from over. We found people who agree with both those points in Clark County.
“Personally, I think it's a good deal. It is our constitutional right to carry and bear arms so I think it's alright,” says Dick Matti.
“It'll be interesting to see how it develops or what happens that's for sure,” says Kal Theiler.
Poss says the district attorney's office has 20 days to file a notice of appeal. Our phone call to the prosecutor was not returned Thursday.
Judge Counsell also didn't want to comment on the case.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement saying Judge Counsell's decision "endangers our communities, puts law enforcement at risk and is just plain wrong.”
The group says the decision should be reversed on appeal.
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