Activist Judge Rules Against Wisconsin's CCW Ban, Cites Wikipedia, Ignores Facts

10/15/2010 10:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Wisconsin, home to John Kerry's beloved "Lambert" Field, is also one of two states in America that bans the carrying of concealed weapons (the other is Illinois).

This week Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Jon M. Counsell issued an opinion overturning the state's ban on concealed carry that challenges Senator Kerry's infamous gaffe for uninformed audacity.

Drawing supposed authority from the U.S. Supreme Court's Heller and McDonald decisions--which found only a Second Amendment right to keep a handgun in the home for self-protection--Counsell ruled that the state's ban on carrying concealed handguns in public was overly broad and therefore unconstitutional.

Why do you need to carry a handgun in the Badger State? One answer is apparently bears and cougars. In his opinion Counsell frets that the ban on concealed carry, "Prohibits the logger, hiker, cross country skier and other outdoors person from keeping his weapon out of plain sight, but available, in the event of a wolf, bear or other wild animal attack." This statement is then trailed by the following footnote citing Wikipedia. And no, I am not making this up.

For fatal cougar attacks, see

For fatal cougar attacks, see .

For a recent bear attack in our neighbor state of Michigan, see,0,5853596.story.

What's worse? Citing Wikipedia links in your, and let's remember this--actual court decision--or, as evidenced by Counsell's citing "cougar attacks" twice in the text at the expense of "bear attack," not even bothering to cite them accurately.

Counsell then goes on to offer the following absolute statement:

Despite the varying concealed carry laws allowing "ordinary" citizens to carry concealed weapons in 48 States, there have been no shootouts in town squares, no mass vigilante shootings, or other violent outbreaks attributable to allowed concealed carry.

Now, I haven't gone to the Google machine to check Wikipedia recently (at least until this week), but my organization, the Violence Policy Center, has been tracking--through news reports, since such information is secret in virtually all CCW states--just these types of killings by concealed handgun permit holders as part of our Concealed Carry Killers project.

According to Concealed Carry Killers' September update, since May 2007 concealed handgun permit holders have killed at least 202 individuals. And no, they aren't good guys killing criminals in the name of truth, justice, and the American way. Of the 122 incidents in 27 states that resulted in the 202 deaths, in more than half (66 incidents) the concealed handgun permit holder has already been convicted, committed suicide after the incident, or was killed in the incident. Of the 56 cases still pending, the vast majority (46) of concealed handgun permit holders have been charged with criminal homicide, two were deemed incompetent to stand trial, two incidents were unintentional shootings, and six incidents are still under investigation.

And where do these killings occur? The exact places Judge Counsell so confidently promises they never do: parking lots, roadways, businesses, homes, and numerous others. And the "mass vigilante shootings" Judge Counsell tells us never occur? Well, the September Concealed Carry Killers update tallies at least 16 mass shootings (three or more victims) committed by concealed handgun permit holders claiming the lives of 65 victims. This doesn't include a CCW mass shooting that we've only recently confirmed: the August 2010 attack at a Connecticut beer distributor in which concealed handgun permit holder Omar Thornton used his Ruger pistol in the murder of eight of his co-workers before taking his own life.

According to Judge Counsell's favored reference source, judicial activism is described as a:

judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law.

But I guess in Judge Counsell's case, it's not really necessary to bother checking Wikipedia to answer that question.