Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pizza Man Trial: Test of Wisconsin Constitution?

A pizza deliveryman shot two would-be robbers in Milwaukee. The DA's office agrees that the shootings were justified (there were no fatalities) but will try the pizza man for carrying a concealed weapon, which is against the law in Wisconsin.

According to the criminal complaint, Vegas, of Cudahy, was making a delivery in the 2800 block of N. 22nd St. on the evening of Jan. 4 for Mona Lisa Pizza, 4831 W. North Ave. As he got out of his car, he was approached by an armed assailant. Vegas then reached into his car's passenger seat, got his .32 semi-automatic pistol and shot his assailant, the complaint says; he then waited for police.

The complaint says the suspect admitted trying to rob Vegas, who prosecutors then determined was justified in the shooting. But because Vegas' gun had been on "the front passenger seat beside the pizzas," it met the definition of a concealed weapon.

But here's a case where the law may be un-Constitutional. The Wisconsin constitution allows possession of a weapon for "any lawful purpose," and a Milwaukee store-owner was found NOT guilty of violating the law when he used a concealed weapon to shoot robbers a few years ago.

The pizza man may well argue that like the store-owner, his on-the-job circumstances were so dangerous that the "lawful purpose" of self-defense compelled him to carry a weapon.

When DarthDoyle (D-ESCR/Abortion) vetoed Concealed Carry licensing, he risked creating a patchwork of gray-area "lawful purposes" which would be adjudicated by the Wisconsin Supremes. Last time around, Screechin'Shirley's Court made it clear that they would run a "Mommy, May I?" test for self-defense--the worst possible outcome for law enforcement and law-abiding citizens.

It will cost this pizza man a considerable sum to defend his right to live and work in Milwaukee. Let's hope that it will NOT cost Milwaukee residents the right to defend themselves, too.

MUCH more useful reference-stuff at Jessica's entry.

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