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Winnebago County DA wants his gun in courthouse (UPDATE)

By: Associated Press//June 18, 2012//

Winnebago County DA wants his gun in courthouse (UPDATE)

By: Associated Press//June 18, 2012//

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APPLETON, Wis. (AP) – The Winnebago County district attorney plans to file a petition with the state Supreme Court on Monday asking that he be allowed to carry his gun in the county courthouse.

County judges have said District Attorney Christian Gossett can’t take a gun to work without the written permission of the presiding judge or court commissioner.

But Gossett, a Republican elected in 2006, contends the order contradicts the concealed carry law passed last year. It allows district attorneys and their assistant prosecutors to carry guns in courthouses if they have concealed weapon permits, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Gossett and his chief deputy Scott Ceman, who are concealed carry permit holders, filed a petition Monday with the state Supreme Court.

They want the court to declare the circuit judges have exceeded their authority and to block them from enforcing their ban. The petition also notes that courts can only invalidate laws for constitutional violations, and that none has been raised regarding the law.

The petition names all six Winnebago County circuit judges, plus Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Robert Wirtz, the chief judge of the 4th Judicial Circuit, as respondents. Wirtz issued an order later in January reiterating the gun restrictions for the Winnebago County Courthouse. A message left at Wirtz’s office Monday was not immediately returned.

Gossett’s petition states that Gossett’s and Ceman’s offices are in a different building from where courtrooms are located, and they must walk through unsecured areas, open to the general public, to get to the courthouse.

There is no place to store guns at the courthouse door, the petition states.

But their own safety concerns, and the Legislature’s clear intention to allow permit-holding prosecutors to go armed in court, didn’t seem to get much traction with the judges.


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