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1/9/2009 9:19:00 AM
DNR to hunters: Hand over your guns on demand
Ex-hunter ed instructor says directive unconstitutional

Richard Moore
Investigative Reporter


First of a two-part series

 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a simple, blunt message for hunters in Wisconsin: When a DNR warden asks you to give up your legal firearm, do so, plain and simple, no matter what.

What's more, that goes for all citizens, the agency has asserted. Citizens with firearms, the DNR argues, should always do exactly what law enforcement officers tell them to do, regardless of the circumstances of the situation.

To which one former hunter education instructor for the department has an equally simple and blunt response: The agency's directive is unconstitutional, plain and simple, and citizens don't have to hand over their firearms without any probable cause.

That viewpoint is the reason Mark Palan, the owner of Palan's Outpost Sporting Goods in Iowa County, has the word 'former' attached to his title. After 14 years as a volunteer instructor, the DNR cast him out last year for, in the agency's words, misrepresenting agency standards to hunter education students.

The issue promises to affect many more people than hunters in the coming year. In fact, the DNR's foray into gun rights issues on the Palan matter represents just one cloud in a growing storm over what authority law enforcement officers actually have to seize openly carried but legal firearms, whether it's from a hunter in the field or a citizen on the street.

Wisconsin is ostensibly an open-carry state; the media debate thus far has focused on whether to extend so-called carrying rights to concealed weapons.

But the latter could soon be yesterday's news; the DNR's excommunication of Palan, and its subsequent articulation of a broad grant of power for law enforcement to confiscate legal firearms, has suddenly called the legitimacy and reality of open carry itself into question.

Just as important, along with an ongoing non-DNR case in West Allis, the agency's expression of support for the ability of police to take away legal firearms upon simple command has in effect opened the door for a de facto state policy for all law enforcement.

The question is, is it constitutional, or, as Palan contends, does the DNR's position characterize an unconstitutional breach of a citizen's Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure?

Simply asked, can law enforcement take a person's legally carried firearm without any probable cause that a crime is being committed? Must a hunter in the field surrender his firearm just because a conservation warden tells him to?

 

Palan's encounter

To Palan, the answer is no.

"For 14 years, I've been teaching my students the same thing, over and over and over," Palan told The Lakeland Times.

The first thing he teaches is, he said, when a person is on private property and a warden stops and asks to see a license, the first thing to do is ask the warden for his credentials. The second thing, Palan said, is to boot the warden off the property because he's trespassing.

"And when they start throwing their weight around, you just reach in your pocket and dial 911 and have the police come out and have them removed," he said.

Being approached by a warden on public land is different, Palan said.

"If you are on public ground and a warden stops you and wants to see your license, you should ask him for his credentials, then you show him your license," he said. "And when he says, give me your gun, you show him your gun. You set it down on the ground or you can hand it to him. But your right is that you do not have to give him your gun. And if you set it down on the ground and he picks it up, now he's taken your gun without your permission. I've been teaching that for 14 years."

But, Palan said, his instruction collided with DNR attitudes last March when a local conservation warden lectured at one of his classes and discovered what Palan was teaching.

A confrontation ensued, Palan recalls, both in the class that night and a few days later in his store, and Palan says the DNR gave him a choice - either admit to the class that what he had been teaching was wrong, or get kicked out.

Palan got kicked out.

 

For the record

DNR documents corroborate Palan's version of events.

In an April 28, 2008, letter, DNR hunter education administrator Timothy Lawhern told Palan he was being ousted as a DNR instructor for a variety of reasons, including Palan's alleged refusal to abide by a program instructor code of conduct, his refusal to accept constructive criticism from local conservation warden Joe Frost, and his refusal to teach the program as the DNR wanted.

The removal applied to all recreational safety programs, Lawhern stated, boater education as well as snowmobile education, ATV education as well as hunter education and bow hunter education.

"You have trained many hunter education graduates contrary to our program standards of how to handle a firearm when approached by a law enforcement officer," Lawhern wrote. "This training has now placed those students in a potentially dangerous attitude which could have catastrophic results for themselves and members of the law enforcement community."

Palan certainly had the right to disagree with the DNR's approach, Law- hern added, but that did not give him any authority to teach one of their programs contrary to the agency's guidelines.

"You may disagree with our required training as you have every right to do so," Lawhern wrote. "However, you have no authority to teach our program contrary to our guidelines."

Lawhern followed his April 28 letter to Palan with a May 19, 2008, missive to Palan's former students. That letter instructed them to always follow the commands of a law enforcement officer, no matter the circumstance and even if it meant giving the officer the firearm.

"It has come to our attention that a portion of the training you received while taking the Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Course in Iowa County was not in compliance with our program policies," Lawhern began. ". . . . The portion of the training I need to clarify for you is what is expected of citizens when they are contacted by a law enforcement officer."

Lawhern didn't name Palan but said the "instructor" had misrepresented the DNR's program training standards regarding such contacts.

"What you should have been taught was to maintain good muzzle control and then follow the instructions of the law enforcement officer," Lawhern wrote. "This will vary depending on what type of contact it is, where it is taking place, the circumstances behind the contact, the officer's intuition or concern about safety and your demeanor during the contact."

What the DNR teaches in its hunter education program must carry over to everyday real-life situations, Lawhern continued.

"That is why it is important to understand that law enforcement communities, regardless of their branch of service (i.e. state trooper, county deputy, municipal police, conservation warden, etc.), have expectations that their instructions will be followed," he wrote. "This is for your safety, the safety of the officer as well as any other citizens that might be nearby."

For the most part, Lawhern wrote, wardens were simply checking for legal firearms for the game being pursued, magazine capacity (waterfowl hunting), and legal ammunition types - all the while maintaining a safe environment.

Examples of instructions a person might receive during a hunting situation might include the following, Lawhern stated: "Please open the action of your firearm"; "Would you mind safely unloading your firearm"; "You may place your firearm safely against that tree until we are finished"; "I'll hold your firearm while you check for your license"; "Allow me to check your magazine for a plug while you find your license."

Listening to law enforcement, no matter what, was the proper course of action, he wrote.

"Your cooperation with law enforcement is vital no matter what the situation is," Lawhern concluded. "To act any other way could result in a tragedy easily avoided by simply following their instructions."

The letter stunned Palan.

"They took the time and the taxpayer dollars to send a letter to every student that I've taught in 14 years, telling them that they were misrepresented by an Iowa county instructor," he said.

But the former instructor said he was more interested in what the letter did not say.

"Now what is expected of citizens?" he asked. "It doesn't say here that the law says that you will hand over your firearm."

 

To the next level

Even after removing Palan as an instructor, Lawhern wasn't content to leave the issue alone. He also addressed it in the April 2008 issue of the Wisconsin Hunter Education newsletter, which is distributed to hunter education instructors.

In the article, entitled "When a Warden Approaches, What Do I Do with my Gun," he expanded the scope of authority to include all law enforcement and all citizens. In so doing, he put the DNR on a collision course with the state's open-carry law.

"About 8 years ago the International Hunter Education Association raised the question about what is being taught in hunter education courses relative to how hunters should handle their firearms during license checks in the field," Lawhern wrote. "The aftermath of the debate was that a survey should be done within the law enforcement community to determine what they expected as appropriate behavior. The debate caused us to ask all manner of law enforcement since what we teach we wanted to meet every cop, state trooper, county deputy or municipal officer's expectations."

Law enforcement wanted just two things, he said of the survey's results. One was to maintain good muzzle control. The other was to "do exactly what the officer tells you to do."

"This may seem a bit odd as it's a standard that could be different from one officer to the next or different when situations are different," Lawhern wrote. "The officers instructions can and will vary depending on the situation."

Lawhern them moved on to address the likely response of law enforcement in general when officers see someone openly carrying a firearm, which, again, is not illegal per se in Wisconsin.

"Note that the officer on the street doesn't expect to see firearms openly exposed," he wrote. "In most cases when they do see a firearm, they draw theirs and tell the person 'Let me see your hands! Don't move!' In some cases they yell, 'Put the gun down,' or "Drop the gun!'"

Similarly, he stated, there would be times when a warden would ask a hunter to put down a gun or unload it or hand it to the warden.

"The point is, we must be teaching our students to follow the officer's instructions," he concluded.

To Lawhern, then, the mere presence of a firearm was reason enough for the police to give commands that must be obeyed, in addition to launching preliminary use-of-deadly force tactics such as drawing weapons.

Mystified at that reasoning, Palan sought out a legislative viewpoint, asking his state senator, Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), whether a DNR warden in fact possessed any authority to take custody of a legal firearm, absent any probable cause.

Schultz retrieved an opinion from a senior staff attorney for the Wisconsin Legislative Council. The answer was vague, at best. Still, the attorney, Mark Patronsky, could find no blanket authority, except that arising from certain specifically defined statutory reasons.

"Within the scope of the constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures, the courts have carved out authorization for law enforcement officers (such as conservation wardens) to take control of a firearm to protect the safety of the law enforcement officer," Patronsky wrote. "The officer, after further investigation and determination of a probable cause, may proceed to arrest the individual and seize the firearm."

Other situations in which a firearm might be seized included violations of various ammunitions and transporting regulations or the creation of a public nuisance.

The bottom line was, though, police needed some reason for the seizure.

"The statutes and administrative rules described in this memorandum, as well as a variety of other statutes and rules, do allow a warden to take a person's firearm for various reasons," he wrote.

Palan says that means a warden simply can't take a firearm without some probable cause.

"Nowhere in the hunters' education manual, nowhere in the instructors manual, nowhere in any state statutes that I can find, does it say you must hand over your firearm," he said.  "Nowhere."

 

Real-life impact

One practical effect of Lawhern's expansive grant of confiscatory powers to police, not to mention their supposed prerogative to draw their weapons on gun-carrying citizens, would be a practical evisceration of Wisconsin's open carry status.

That status is already murky.

On the one hand, despite Lawhern's drawn-gun scenario, the heads of multiple Wisconsin law enforcement agencies told The Lakeland Times their officers would not act in the manner Lawhern described upon merely seeing someone with a gun. They acknowledged the legality of open carry.

In addition, the Use of Deadly Force policy of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department would seem to prohibit such conduct, without some other probable cause or suspicion.

"In any use of force decision, the officer must be certain that he or she has the right to make contact," the policy states. "The intervention must have legal beginning based upon articulable facts or circumstances. Officer presence can be based upon invitation, reasonable suspicion, community caretaker function, probable cause, exigent circumstances or other 'legal beginnings.'"

According to the policy, officer presence - which presumably could include a drawn gun - is the lowest level of use of force, but, the policy emphasizes,  "an excessive or negative presence must be avoided or, if used, must be justified."

How could Lawhern's scenario be reconciled with such a policy? That could only logically occur if open-carry was by itself illegal, by definition constituting reasonable suspicion, probable cause, exigent circumstance or some other "legal beginning" that justified police contact and presence.

Then, too, both the state, under then attorney general Jim Doyle, and the Supreme Court recognized open-carry rights in State of Wisconsin v Hamdan, in which the High Court carved out a concealed weapon exemption for small storeowners.

The Department of Justice argued against the exemption, citing the ability of citizens to already possess and carry an open weapon: "The State argues that even under the strictest enforcement of the [concealed carry] statute, a person lawfully in possession of a firearm will always retain the ability to keep the firearm in the open - holding the weapon in the open, keeping the weapon in a visible holster, displaying the weapon on the wall, or otherwise placing the weapon in plain view," the court stated in summing up the DOJ's brief.

In her dissent of the final decision, chief justice Shirley Abrahamson went even further.

"That is, [the law] does not prevent anyone from carrying a firearm for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or other lawful purposes," Abrahamson wrote. "Rather, it limits the manner of carrying weapons, by requiring that a weapon that is on a person or within a person's reach not be concealed. The gist of the offense is the concealment."

 

Then again

On the other hand, police have increasingly begun to cite those openly carrying firearms for disorderly conduct, which a September 2000 memorandum by the Legislative Reference Bureau warned could happen.

"Wisconsin law does not specifically prohibit the open carrying of loaded or unloaded firearms in public, but a person doing so may risk being arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct, on the grounds that the display threatens the public peace or safety," the brief stated.

If that's the case, then police departments and the DNR could effectively make open carry illegal by defining it as disorderly conduct from the get-go, making an end run around both the Supreme Court and the Legislature. Using the same logic, any law enforcement commands not obeyed could result in a disorderly conduct citation.

Until recently, those charged with disorderly conduct for carrying open firearms have not fought the issue. That changed last year.

In West Allis, in August, in a scenario eerily similar to the one Lawhern outlined, West Allis police drew their weapons and arrested Bruce Krause, who was wearing a holstered legal pistol while planting trees on his own property.

In a case that could finally clarify both police authority to seize firearms and the state's open carry law, Krause is fighting back, and a landmark U.S. Court of Appeals decision last month could be decisive in the outcome.

Those cases will be discussed in the next article.



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Chris Hansen

First of all, law enforcement needs only reasonable suspicion to stop and detain someone. Probable cause is needed to arrest. The rest of your question is interesting and thought provoking. Hunting and fishing are actually listed in the Wisconsin constitution as a right, driving a vehicle is not. However, the standard for detaining someone who is hunting or fishing seems to be lower than that of someone driving. Good question.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Ru Ko

Does the act of legally hunting and fishing constitute a probable cause for a DNR official to demand to see your license? Does legally driving an automobile constitute probable cause for a traffic stop by police?

Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009
Article comment by: Jesse Novotny

Can the Wisconsin DNR search your home without a search warrant?

Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2009
Article comment by: Constitutionalist


Article comment by: SCLEO

Mr. John Deahl has made assumptions from my posting. I compared hunting to driving because you have to be licensed to do both. They are a privilege, not a right.

SORRY SCLEO, YOU ARE WRONG, HUNTING IS INDEED A RIGHT AND NOT A PRIVILEGE:
Wisconsin Constitution,
[Article I] Section 26: The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.



Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2009
Article comment by: anne miller

EVERY year it gets worse. The DNR is an extremely over-zealous wing of the state.

In reading the opines of readers Dean and Ron W., you can see that many in the state like Dean, are already dumbed down to the point that they believe the warden has unquestionable rights to take a firearm to examine it. Dean obviously believes "rights" and "ethics" are somehow mutually exclusive.

When I grew up in the 60's and hunted ALL the time we never saw a warden because the state government (IMHO) had not begun to expand in size until the late 60's during the time of war protests. In the seventies the protesters became involved in politics in Madison with Paul Soglin and to a lesser degree in Milwaukee with Father Groppi and their kindred spirits. Their agendas, pumped by a then already pre-disposed liberal media staffed by liberal reporters spawned a change in social thinking and once the libs finally took control they, like any over-educated class, began to impose their ways upon the populace since "they" knew what would be best for everyone.

As their voting block increased so did patronage jobs and the "liberal" mindset which I saw as a constricting force and left the state.

Jump ahead now to the past few years, yes the DNR is FULLY STAFFED although if you were to call up there right now and ask someone there if it is legal to hunt deer with a handgun chambered in .357 Herrett they would have to refer you on to someone "who knows about that" and you will NEVER reach that person. All you will get for that and multiple other requests for info from someone "who knows something" is a recorder or a secretary if the person "who know something" is far up there saying that they are: out in the field on vacation in a meeting can't be disturbed (although they are probably already "disturbed") or out in the field and will be back but has a meeting to attend before he goes on vacation and will be back on such-and-such date if he isn't sick then too."

My brother lives in the central part of the state on a small farm surrounded by his wife's family's brothers and sisters on their small farms. His father-in-law is probably 88+ years old and last year during deer season as he chugged up his gravel driveway from the machine shed toward the milk barn a warden from the DNR came racing up his driveway and pulled in front of ol' Fred. Fred had no idea of what it was about and feared for the worst.

The warden jumped out of his 4x4 with flashing lights going and demanded to know what the hell he was doing outside without wearing blaze orange! Fred told the warden that he A. wasn't hunting and B was in his driveway not in the deer woods...where my brother was...wearing blaze orange and hunting. The warden went on about some other issue and left. My brother went over by Fred about dinner time to take a break and warm up and Fred told him the story. That's how I know this happened.

That all sounds odd I know and perhaps pointless BUT there is a point and it is this... The way a warden or a police officer approaches a person is very telling. It is a telegraphed message which can convey a message like, "Oh, a warden. I wonder what he wants or needs. Maybe something happened?" or if the warden comes up to you like you are in violation of who knows what and has an attitude and there is NO known reason for the warden to be there or even asking you questions and demanding to see your gun--they are two different scenarios. So if the wardens are approaching WWII veterans like old Fred like that I KNOW they are assholes with a badge and that's a shame. Give your gun to someone who is imbalanced? I'd have to think two or three times about that one. Let's have a little rational discussion here on MY property first.

I am very PRO-law enforcement, fire department etc., but the WI DNR has been out of whack, as has the University of WI and the Madison city government since Soglin. Like the U.S. government, they have been hiring right along and their benefits all get paid off the backs of those they rule over.



Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Article comment by: Gray Ghost

Palan was wrong to teach that a DNR agent is trespassing when he comes on to your private land to check you.

He may have been wrong from a legal standpoint to teach that a hunter doesn't have to hand over his gun when requested to do so by a DNR agent during a check. Or he may have been right. At any rate, the DNR was well within its rights to terminate him as a hunter safety instructor.

But the author of the article apparently didn't consult any independent legal expert, when writing on this complex legal issue. For example, the article does not discuss the issue of whether a temporary handover of a firearm during a routine field check is a "seizure" for Fifth Amendment or Second Amendment purposes.

I would say it is probably not a seizure, if only temporary, and for safety purposes. (It would only be a seizure if the officer kept your weapon after the check was finished.) But if there is any governing law on that question, the author of this article hasn't found it for us.


Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Article comment by: SCLEO

Mr. John Deahl has made assumptions from my posting. I compared hunting to driving because you have to be licensed to do both. They are a privilege, not a right. It's different than gun ownership, which is a 2nd Amendment right. Nowhere did I say that law enforcement is automatically allowed to search someone's car based on the fact that they have to be licensed. I don't know how he made that jump? When a person drives on the road, or takes to the field hunting, they have given implied consent to government agencies to check that they are doing the privilege legally. Law enforcement officers may ask that you set the gun down, or may ask to see it. This does not constitute a "surrendering" of your firearm as Mr. Moore would have you believe. Surrendering happens when you are not allowed to leave with the firearm. To do that the officer must have probable cause. In such a situation you will probably be cited or arrested in addition to having your firearm taken. Therefore, law enforcement is not taking your guns unless you did something to warrant it. Remember, the law enforcement officers live in your community and share your same beliefs. They are not interested in taking your firearms. Legislators are another story.

Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Article comment by: John Deahl

I was struck by 2 comments.

One was by David Codrea on Jan 13 in which he stated the email reply from the officer that started all the trouble. In part the reply stated "At no time have we ever taught our students in hunter education that they have to 'surrender' their firearms when in a normal legal compliance check in the field." I think the DNR has talked to this officer and set him straight. Otherwise, what was he so upset about if he really believed his email reply?

This kind of govt intrustion is called incrementalism. The constant nick picking away at gun rights.

If any law abiding gun owner was not concerned about keeping his rights or guns he should have his head examined. There are countless govt agencies and private organizations all working together to do just that. The DNR needs to be sensitive to that fact.

The second was from SCLEO on Jan 9. In his text he states the mear act of hunting constitutes probable cause. Nothing could be farther than the truth. He even compares it to driving a car. Well, we all know evidence aquired in a car search has been thrown out of court because there was not probable cause to do the search.

The best way to handle this is for the DNR to train its officers in the correct way to approah and inspect weapons without the tone of demanding unconditionally.

But the sad reality is the govt has screwed up in numerous cases across the US and the public knows of these abuses.

The public has a right, if not duty, to be wary of their govt. That is how the republic is set up, for the people to stand up and protect our rights against these abuses.



Posted: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Article comment by: steve adams

When is the second part of this 2 part series going to be puiblished ?

Thanks


Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009
Article comment by: SCLEO

I wonder how many of the people supporting Mr. Moore's viewpoints will take up Mr. Lawhern's offer to call and speak with him. I doubt many will. It's a lot easier just to sit back and doubt the motives of every public employee. Mr. Lawhern is not a legislator and is not trying to take away anybody's gun rights. Law enforcement officers are some of the biggest supporters of these rights. Mr. Moore has again skewed a non-issue into a "news story." I can't wait to read his editorial on this issue. I'm sure that is coming soon. I'm sure there will be no bias there!

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009
Article comment by: Jay D. Hunt

During Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police thought that they could take lawfully owned firearms. The federal court disagreed and stated that no lawfully owned firearm may be taken from a citizen by a police officer without cause. The city is now bankrupt because they cannot afford the huge fine imposed upon them by the court. Clearly, the Wisconsin DNR is wrong and it will cost the state plenty to be proven wrong.

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Article comment by: Ed Nelson

With all due respect, I think Palin, the safety instructor, is carrying some baggage we're not hearing about. One of the most dangerous times I can think of is when a hunter all bundled up and stiff from cold ejects shell from his lever action. In 24 years I Investigate at least three accidents due to accidental discharge. He should stick to hunter safety and stop lawerying.

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Article comment by: Brandi Lefeber

Just remember this little diddy: "First they came for the communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up becasue I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and didn't speak up because I wan't a Catholic. Then they came for me-and by that time no one was left to speak up." I can't recall who wrote this. Shame on you, HDH and Henry Schwartz. Your comments make me sick to my stomach because it is "thinking" like this that will make our Constitution and Bill of Rights obsolete.

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Article comment by: HDH

Really...a temporary request intended for the safety of the citizen and the warden constitutes an "illegal seizure" are you able to fatham how absolutely ridiculous that sounds. And to jump to the conclusion that this temporary and minor inconvenience means the DNR is going to come and take our guns away or is some anti-gun lobbyist group is garbage journalism at its finest...why don't you correctly title the article "Childlishly Diatribed Anti-Government Propaganda - Based on Heresy and Absurd Conclusions That Don't Actually Correlate to the Facts Presented in the Article". Typical non-sense I've come to expect from this publication, do you folks actually do any unbiased "investigative research" before you go on your little tirades, or do you make this trash up as you go along...just wondering? Because in case you were not aware your opinion on what the law is, is trumped by what it actually says...yeah thats right they right this stuff down...I know it's crazy but it's true, and last I checked its public record. And yes some laws contain gray areas and can be "vague" or unclear even which is why we have AL Judges, Attorneys, and a Legislature to take of those circumstances...and not Mr. Palan to make it up as he see's fit. The real tragedy would have been if some poor kid got shot becuase he/she inappropriately followed what they had been taught by Mr. Palan. And I honestly ask: who would be to blame for that? The Officer...the kid...THE INSTRUCTOR. I know who I'd blame if my kid got shot because some meathead told him to do something stupid.

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Article comment by: ronw

As a hunter safety instructor for going on 2o years, I find this situation ridiculous. Hunter safety class should be about hunter safety and ethics first and foremost. Spreading your beliefs about gun rights, property rights, etc. has no place there. Our DNR does a wonderful job protecting our resources and the heritage of hunting. To have them continually attacked by those suffering from what I like to call "rightitis" is absurd.

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Article comment by: Derek

The 2nd Amendment is very clear when it says our right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed". This is just another way of infringement on a law abiding citizen.

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Article comment by: David Codrea

I emailed DNR and this was their reply: "Sir: thanks for sharing. I now know an article has been posted on a blog. Too bad the author of the article has completely misrepresented the facts. At no time have we ever taught our students in hunter education that they have to 'surrender' their firearms when in a normal legal compliance check in the field. Sometimes we assist the hunter by holding their firearm while they search for their licenses....then give them back when we have the license in hand. We sometimes ask to see a firearm to verify that it is in compliance with magazine capacity laws such as a plug for waterfowl hunting. Again, this article completely misrepresents the facts. You have fallen prey to the media sir. Call me if you wish to discuss the facts (608) 266-1317. Tim Lawhern Hunter Education Administrator Conservation Warden Bureau of Law Enforcement Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources"

Posted: Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Article comment by: Henry Schwartz

I completely support the actions of DNR and other law enforcement personnel to ask a hunter to hand over a gun for inspection. I have been asked for my gun while deer hunting in the Hazelhurst area. It is appropriate that the DNR enforce hunting laws, and inspecting weapons is necessary for that task. I am pro-gun. Law enforcement personnel deserve our support.

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009
Article comment by: jeff

the day our fellow citizens in the government don't trust us with weapons is very sad day. why should we, the people of the United States trust the dnr guys? he is just another man like us, created equal. remember that thing called the constitution? sad day in america when the government is more important than the People it is supposed to serve.

Posted: Monday, January 12, 2009
Article comment by: Tony Terranova

We need to be vigilant in defending our 2nd Amendment rights by promoting and electing public servants to office that support the 2nd. This is a clear case of liberal trickery in an attempt to take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens.


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