Today Winnie the chicken made her splashy media debut at the Appleton farmers’ market. A random group of locals decided to protest the state open carry law by bringing a live chicken to the farm market. Special tee shirts were worn for the event and fliers were handed out by the protest participants.
Many good points were raised in the “Cluck or Duck” hand out. This group is calling for “adjusting open carry within city limits” and they ask people to contact their assemblyperson or senator to “sponsor a bill that allows municipalities to decide whether or not open carry will be allowed”.
This story started two weeks ago when two men attempted to go to the farmers’ market openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and concealed carry pistols. While it is perfectly legal to openly carry AR-15 rifles in downtown Appleton, it did cause some concern and resulted in three 911 calls to the Appleton Police Department about “suspicious individuals” carrying rifles. The men were briefly questioned by police and released without incident or fine.
Last week the Appleton Police Department had an increased presence at the farmers’ market.
This week gun critics planned a protest of their own. A gentleman carried an attractive live chicken named Winnie in downtown Appleton. Her presence attracted all sorts of media attention. Everyone wanted to get close to the chicken and her person. There were so many people around Winnie and her person that I could hardly get close to the duo.
Gun rights advocates will probably argue that the men openly carrying AR-15 semi-automatic rifles shouldn’t have been stopped and questioned by the police. How were the police or onlookers supposed to know if they were the “good guys with guns” or not? Can anyone truly judge a person’s motives from a distance? What if something truly bad had happened and it came out that the police had been informed of a potential threat to public safety and they had refused to question the motives of the men carrying the weapons? It’s not as if people who have evil intentions wear a black hat to let everyone else know they are “bad guys with guns” instead of law abiding citizens.
It’s amazing how much attention was raised by a man and his chicken. I hope the events today open the door to more discussion of the current state of open carry laws in the state of Wisconsin. In my humble opinion, dear reader, I’d rather come face to face with a person carrying a loaded chicken as opposed to coming face to face with a person carrying a loaded AR-15.
Here are some other pictures from the event: