Appeals Court Rules for Gun Ban on Madison Buses

Interesting.

A state appeals court on Thursday agreed with a Dane County judge who ruled last year that a Madison city policy banning guns on city buses does not violate Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.

Wisconsin Carry, a gun rights group, contended that state law preempted the policy. But the state 4th District Court of Appeals said that, as written, state law doesn’t bar the rule, which prohibits guns on Metro Transit buses.

“Applying the language of (the state statute) as written, we agree with the circuit court and the city that the statute plainly preempts only ‘ordinances’ and ‘resolutions,’ ” Judge Paul Lundsten wrote for the three-judge panel. “And, we agree, it is clear that the bus rule is not an ‘ordinance’ or ‘resolution’ under case law providing generally accepted meanings for those terms.”

The Appeals Court may be right. Clearly the Madison bus policy violates the spirit of the law, but it might not violate the actual language. But by that standard, any city could pass gun bans and just call them “rules” or “orders” or “policies” or whatever to get around the law. The legislature should take it up in the Fall to revise the statute to be more clear what the intent is. Perhaps something like, “public entities shall not take any action that has the effect of restricting the carrying of concealed weapons wherever state law allows.”

With a Republican legislature and governor, I would think this minor change should be quick and easy.