And a couple warm fuzzy gun rights moments, and a ray of hope from a Chicago youth-
So I headed up to Gander Mountain this morning on a whim. Just wanted to check in, see what's on hand, maybe scope out some new stuff if they've got it in. Good way to kill a bit of time at least.
As usual, I holstered up and headed into the store. Gander Mountain has generally been very supportive of the Wisconsin OC movement, even to the point of allowing some members to leave OC pamphlets in a couple of the stores around the state.
Most importantly, a while back they made a change to their signs at the door regarding firearms and bows brought in for repairs and whatnot, in which they specifically state these rules do not apply to legally carried firearms for self defense. (This will come into play in a second...) Here's the sign: (click to make big)
So as I'm checking out a nice little M&P9 (hadn't handled one yet, felt pretty good) an employee approaches me and informs me that corporate policy states "you can't carry a holstered gun in the store." I guess somebody back in the gunsmith area saw me and kinda freaked... from what I gather it may well have been an ATF inspector, which would explain her lack of knowledge regarding firearm laws... Anyway, I pull my best "ORLY?" face, and tell him that's not what's posted at the door. We walk back to the front doors and I point out the relevant text. Victory ensues, he kindly apologizes and heads back to his post. A little later as we're chatting over the handgun counter he thanks me for pointing it out, and that he had never really stopped to read the sign, and for whatever reason assumed the second half said the opposite.
The point of "permits" also came up, and I let him know there's no such thing as a carry permit in Wisconsin. As Gov. Doyle has alluded, the State Constitution is your permit. After walking back to the gun department I also overheard him talking to what I assumed was the store manager, who was correlating that it is in fact corporate policy, and that he doesn't just agree, but in fact encourages it! Makes me feel a little better about the money I've spent at that particular store over the years.
After all this, I was approached by a young man, looked to be 13 or 14, who said that it's pretty cool that OC's legal in Wisconsin. He confessed he is from Chicago (it is the time of year for the Northern Weekend Migrations, and that Gander Mountain is right on I39/US51, the main drag to the Northwoods) and watching him wander around the gun department in awe was pretty cool. He asked a few questions about my gun, and a couple about the legalities of OC and stuff, and told me he felt safer knowing that people can legally carry here. By god there's hope yet.
The fun didn't stop there either, two other employees asked me about OC while I wandered around, including one of their gunsmiths who just moved here from Colorado. He had a CCW permit when he lived there, and was kind of sad about having to give up that measure of protection moving here, especially since he had lived around Denver. He told me he never went anywhere there unarmed. I gave him a pamphlet (I keep a stack in my car just for these occasions,) and I'm pretty certain the movement gained another one today.