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Two Wisconsin Men Detained For Bringing Assault Rifles To Farmers Market

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 16, 2013 3:00PM

An AR-15 rifle (Photo credit: Vartanov Anatoly/

There’s no accounting for commons sense with open carry gun laws. We have blind people in Iowa being issued permits to carry a firearm in public and now this story out of Appleton, Wisc., where two men with open carry permits are considering a lawsuit after being detained by police earlier this month for walking down College Avenue near that town’s popular farmers market with AR-15 assault rifles strapped to their backs.

Charles Branstrom, 27, and Ross Bauman, 22, were stopped by Appleton Police after three 911 calls were received concerned there were two men walking the streets armed. After determining the rifles were indeed AR-15s, Police drew their weapons, handcuffed and detained Branstrom and Bauman before being released without being charged. Branstrom and Bauman are now considering filing a lawsuit, claiming police violated their Second Amendment rights. Branstrom can be heard in the video below asking police what laws he and Bauman violated and telling police he’s carrying the rifle and a handgun “for self-defense;” who knew organic kale and pumpkin spice latte vendors at the Appleton Farmers Market posed threats?

Appleton Police countered they stopped Branstrom and Bauman because they didn’t want to start a panic at the market had made it on the grounds. Open carry is legal in Wisconsin but the two men couldn’t be charged with any crimes because “they had not made it to the farmers market” at the point where they were stopped. Mayor Tim Hanna said security around the farmers market would be tightened as a result of the incident and that it would not be “ruined by two idiots trying to prove a point.”

“This is not the Wild West; this is one of the safest communities in the country. We don’t need posses and we don’t need vigilantes,” Hanna said. “We’re limited in our ability to ban weapons, but you can’t bring your dog and you can’t bring a toy gun to the farmers market.”

Branstrom told the Post-Crescent he didn’t do this as a stunt and that he carries guns in the open every day for his safety. “I was one nervous twitch away from getting shot.” We agree and Branstrom would have had no one but himself to blame.

Ironically, Appleton’s municipal code contains an ordinance that forbids carrying toy or fake guns in public.

Audio recordings of 911 calls reporting Branstrom and Bauman

Branstrom's video recording of police detaining him and Bauman