U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- 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 Wal-Mart.
I go into Wal-Mart several times a week open carrying.
I have never had anyone say anything to me, but today was different. I was carrying my Glock 22. Today was a two mag day.
My buddy was carrying his nickle 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 near by. 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.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.