It was just over a year ago that Concertina Beer Hall owner Andy Kochanski shot it out with armed robbers inside his Milwaukee establishment, killing one criminal and injuring another in a robbery that sparked a firestorm of controversy locally about self-defense in an increasingly violent area.
Kochanski marked the anniversary of the robbery by hosting a free concealed carry class that was packed with nearly 100 people:
Nearly 100 people packed Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall on Milwaukee’s near south side Sunday morning — for a lesson on guns.
“There’s a fine line when it comes to the things you do with your firearm. You need to know where that line is,” Daniel Brooker with Wisconsin Carry, Inc. said.
The free concealed carry training class was organized by Andy Kochanski.
“I was like a poster child, I guess. People looked at what had happened to me, and they thought ‘I want to go out and get a gun and defend myself,'” Kochanski said.
It was August 16th, 2013 when police say three men walked into the Concertina Beer Hall. Police say two of the men were armed, and police say they tried to rob Kochanski.
Kochanski says the memories of that day conjure up a specific feeling.
“I guess just being very lucky. Lucky that I was able to calmly do what I did and take control of the situation,” Kochanski said.
A 23-year-old man was shot and killed. Another was injured — and the third fled the scene. Both of those who survived the shooting inside the bar have since been arrested and tried. One was recently acquitted. The second, Jose Munoz, was set to be sentenced last week, but his sentencing has been postponed.
Kochanski became a rallying point in his community for armed self-defense as a result of the shooting last year, which saw pro-gun Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. step forward on behalf of Kochanski and other gun owners, and ask for prosecutors to return firearms used in self-defense cases to be returned to their owners within 48 hours.
Sheriff Clarke has since become a polarizing figure in the gun rights his impassioned stand for armed self-defense, and recently defeated a challenger supported by gun control supporter Michael Bloomberg.