Like it or not, there are rules. Many of these rules are stupid and many are what most of us would think of as unconstitutional. However, those rules are still the rules whether we like it or not.
Now, sometimes breaking the rules is just what you have to do in order to challenge them.
Yet other times, you just come off as a kook, such as showing up at a governor’s office with an openly carried firearm, getting arrested, then coming back with an AK.
A man who was arrested Wednesday after bringing a handgun to the Wisconsin Capitol and saying he wanted to see Gov. Tony Evers returned with an assault rifle that night after posting bail and again asked to see Evers, according to state officials.
The man was shirtless and had a holstered handgun and a leashed dog when he approached the security desk outside the governor’s office in Madison around 2 p.m. Wednesday, Wisconsin Department of Administration spokesperson Tatyana Warrick said in a statement to CNN.
He said he would not leave until he saw the governor, a Democrat, officials said. The man has been identified as Joshua Pleasnick, according to a Wisconsin State Capitol Police visitor alert obtained by CNN from a state senator’s office. CNN has attempted to contact him.
The man was arrested, his dog turned over to animal control, and he bailed himself out a short time later.
For most people, that would be the end of it.
For this guy, though, it wasn’t.
Pleasnick later bailed himself out of jail, the visitor alert said. The man returned to the outside of the Capitol shortly before 9 p.m. – this time with an AK-47-style rifle, the administration department said. Again, he asked to see the governor.
Capitol police and Madison police “began a dialogue” with him, the administration department said.
“A consent search of his backpack was conducted and revealed a collapsible police-style baton, which is illegal as the man did not have a valid concealed carry permit,” the administration department said.
He was taken into custody for a psychiatric evaluation–not for being there with a gun, mind you, but authorities say he made a “concerning statement” which prompted the move–and is being evaluated.
Look, I don’t think his openly carrying a firearm is a problem. I personally wouldn’t do it, especially if you’re demanding to see the governor, but you have a right to keep and bear arms, so bear away.
But coming back with an even bigger, scarier gun isn’t exactly the way to win any governor’s support.
The man claims he wanted to talk about domestic violence against men. That’s a subject that’s not talked about nearly enough, in my opinion, and a perfectly valid thing to want to discuss with an elected official. Yet what’s the story here? It’s the gun.
Having the right to keep and bear arms is important and I support people doing so. Yet if your goal is to affect political change on a non-gun issue, it’s probably not a great idea to openly display a firearm while doing it. Not because you don’t have a right to do so but because the actual issue gets lost in the discussion.
Rather than potentially speaking with the governor on an important issue, this man got arrested and made the problem worse, all while failing to accomplish his goal.
And, in the process, he made gun rights activists look crazy, even while talking about a completely different issue.