With the Nov. 1 start of a new era allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons, Franklin apparently is breaking ranks with its neighboring communities by allowing firearms in its municipal buildings.
By contrast, Greendale, Hales Corners and Oak Creek last week approved local ordinances restricting citizens from carrying concealed weapons into their public buildings.
Franklin was expected to take its action at next Tuesday's Common Council meeting, the end of the first day the statute goes into effect.
Franklin Alderman Steve Taylor said the council was "not bothered" by the public allowance.
"The bad guys are going to do bad things anyway, and we can't really enforce it," Taylor said. "Maybe they will think twice because law-abiding citizens may also have a concealed weapon, too."
Other Franklin aldermen expressed similar views.
"I haven't heard anything from residents," said Kristen Wilhelm. "It's been very quiet."
Doug Schmidt said, "I'm a pacifist, but I think we didn't want to post signs all over as a reminder that there are guns around."
A lone voice in Greendale
At least one other area elected official questioned his community's public ban. Greendale Trustee Carl Genz gave the only dissenting vote in the village decision.
"I just thought we should study this and get input from the public," Genz said. "I agree that since we are not going to have police or metal detectors monitoring this that it will only mean that those with concealed guns in public buildings would do it anyway."
All four communities have drafted measures to aid local law enforcement's ability to write tickets as municipal violations instead of sending such matters to the Milwaukee County district attorney.
City and village managers noted that the general thrust of the local enforcement has been to make the conceal carry law as uniform as possible, though each community can add measures that affect local control.
"I know that there are some communities outside of Milwaukee County that may be allowing more places for residents to carry guns than we are," said Greendale Villag Manager Todd Michaels. "TheVillage Board has made its decision."
Oak Creek City Manager Gerry Peterson said the various approach by municipalities "gives each community its individual flavor."
Said Peterson: "Ultimately, passing ordinances like this helps people decide where they want to live."
Peterson, who less than two years ago came to Oak Creek from Michigan, said the focus on concealed carry will be fleeting.
"I saw this law pass in Michigan," he said. "I guarantee you that within a year, none of us will be talking about it."
Until then, the Greendale and Hales Corners police departments are offering classes designed to inform the public about the law and provide the necessary firearms safety. Those successfully completing classes will receive a required training certificate and can apply for a state-issued license.
Greendale has set five classes, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 12, 13 and 26 and Dec. 10 and 17. Participants need to bring an encased and unloaded handgun, ammunition and safety glasses for those who will be shooting, a Wisconsin photo ID, a pen, pencil and notepad.
Fee for the one-day class is $100 for Greendale residents or $150 for nonresidents. Classes are limited to 15 people on a first- come, first-served basis, according to Greendale Police Chief Bob Malasuk.
"We waited to get all the proper training regulations from the state," Malasuk said. "These will be thorough sessions. I respect those who want to know more about the law and those who want to go through the training to ensure safety."
For more information or to register, call (414) 423-2121.
"We have had a lot of interest," said Richard Von Drasek, the Hales Corners officer who is coordinating his department's classes. "We haven't set the dates just yet, but we are limiting them to six participants."
For more information, call the Hales Corners nonemergency number, (414) 529-6140.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice offers complete regulatory information about the concealed carry law at www.doj.state.wi.us.
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