Joe contacted me regarding Madison Police Department's "policy" on dealing with armed citizens. The policy can be viewed here:
Madison PD Legal Updates
My complete reply to Joe:
I don't have much to say regarding the MPD policy. It looks like the cautious approach that I would expect in light of the newness of concealed carry in Wisconsin-- and the past mistakes the department made dealing with lawful open carry. I am hopeful and reasonably confident that the Madison PD has taken its past mistakes to heart and that it has made a determined effort to get things right from here on out when it comes to the lawful use and possession of firearms and other weapons, whether openly carried or concealed. I believe that the odds of negative police/armed citizen encounters are much lower now. And I believe that there can be a balance between allowing the police to perform their duties in a safe manner while respecting the rights of citizens to lawfully carry weapons for their personal security. I expect that once the novelty has worn off, concealed carry and open carry will become the non-issue in Wisconsin just as it has become in other states. There may be a rough bump here and there as everyone makes adjustments, but Madison and the rest of Wisconsin will get through it.
If I have a continuing concern in Madison, it lies more with City Hall than with the Police Department. I am concerned that City Hall will put the Police Department in the unfortunate position of enforcing poorly-conceived ordinances and policies. Mayor Soglin announced at one time that he supported an ordinance that would ban possession of a firearms in any business that did not provide express permission to allow them. Fortunately this silly and illegal scheme seems to have fallen by the wayside, as it should. Unfortunately, the City has enacted a policy which bans Metro bus riders from taking firearms onto city buses.
There can be little doubt that this is contrary to the state preemption law, so once again the City is leaving itself vulnerable to a lawsuit that will undoubtedly come sooner or later-- a lawsuit that the City is almost certain to lose. I cannot understand why political correctness prevails over common sense, but that is a question best directed to City Hall. Perhaps the City Council fancies that it is engaging in some sort of civil disobedience of the law, but that is an odd approach for a legislative body to take.
While legal, I also question the sanity of the City (and County) exercising the option to ban firearms in it's buildings. Apparently lessons of history and common sense do not impress everyone. The City even considers bus shelters and park shelters that amount to four poles with a roof to be "government buildings." Somehow prohibitions in these structures are meant to enhance the security of those who stand inside them, even though an armed person could stand two feet away from them. Again, common sense has become frighteningly uncommon among certain groups.
Normally one might ask a person inside a government building whether they believe that the signs banning guns makes them really more safe, or just provide the feeling of being more safe. I can't understand how it would do either one, frankly.