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Madison police sued in "open carry" gun case

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MADISON (WSAU) Madison Police are being sued for making five members of a gun rights group show identification after they openly carried guns into a Culver’s restaurant. The group Wisconsin Carry also said its rights were violated when police adopted a new policy on dealing with openly armed people after the September 18th incident.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court, and it seeks an end to the police actions, plus un-specified damages.

Officers cited two of the Culver’s diners for obstruction after they refused to give their names. Police Chief Noble Wray later dropped the citations. But he cited all five for disorderly conduct, saying others in the restaurant were disturbed by the presence of their open guns. The chief also told officers to seize open weapons while they determine whether the guns are stolen, and if the carriers are convicted felons who are barred from owning weapons.

The Wisconsin Carry group said the policy violates the right to keep-and-bear arms and the protection against unreasonable seizures. Madison Police spokesman Joel DeSpain says he’s not surprised by the lawsuit. He said the department’s actions are based in part on a recent federal judge’s ruling that said officers were justified to arrest a man for disorderly conduct after he took guns into two stores in eastern Wisconsin. The man was never charged, and the judge’s ruling is being appealed.

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