Gun-Rights Advocates Targeting Farm & Fleet
After seeing sign disallowing firearms at Oak Creek store, Wisconsin Carry threatens boycott.
Many of them shop at places like Blain's Farm & Fleet, which has an Oak Creek store at 501 W. Rawson Ave. And why not? It's a store that sells, among many items, air guns, archery bows and hunting accessories.
So when members noticed the Oak Creek store displaying a sign disallowing customers from carrying firearms inside the store, they quickly mobilized. It's been well over a year since state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen declared open carry legal, and Wisconsin Carry members want private businesses to abide by that law, as well.
Van Hollen issued a memorandum in April 2009 after a West Allis municipal court case saying people have the right, under state law, to openly carry a firearm. Wisconsin is one of just two states to prohibit concealed carry, though experts widely expect that to change after the inauguration of Gov.-elect Scott Walker.
Since Van Hollen's memo, Wisconsin Carry has worked to identify instances where people were denied the right to open carry. The organization has filed lawsuits against several government agencies, including the Brookfield and Madison police departments, it believes acted improperly.
Farm & Fleet caught Wisconsin Carry's attention last summer when a customer carrying a firearm was asked to leave the store, Clark said. When a member noticed the sign outside the Oak Creek store, Clark put in a call to the company's corporate headquarters in Janesville.
A representative there confirmed the policy but, according to Clark, told him Farm & Fleet would review it after the holiday.
A voicemail left at Farm & Fleet's corporate offices was not returned Thursday.
A private business has its own rights about who it serves. But in the last few days, Wisconsin Carry has encouraged its members to politely let the company know that if it does not change this policy, it faces a boycott.
"We want them to know how many members patronize their stores and that it will have an effect on their bottom line," Clark said. "The store has right to tell us we can't carry there, but we're telling them, 'We want to shop there.' "