Wisconsin Examiner

State High Court Upholds Gun Conviction

But Justice Rebecca Bradley dissents, defending right to get drunk and carry firearms.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - May 5th, 2021 01:44 pm
M1911 Pistol Gun. Pixabay License. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

M1911 Pistol Gun. (Pixabay License).

In a 6-1 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Madison man who was intoxicated while he carried a firearm through his apartment after getting into an argument with his roommates and their friends.

But in a dissent, Justice Rebecca Bradley made a full-throated defense of the man’s Second Amendment right to get drunk, fight with his roommates and guests and tell them they’re going to get a “a f—ing face full of lead” while carrying a gun.

The case stems from a 2018 incident in which Mitchell Christen was drinking with his roommates when an argument started, ultimately ending with Christen showing his handgun to a houseguest, carrying the handgun in the waistband of his underwear in the home’s kitchen and, after the handgun was taken from him, cocking a shotgun in his room. Christen was convicted of violating a Wisconsin law that prohibits a person from operating or being armed with a firearm while under the influence of an intoxicant.

The majority of the court upheld the jury’s decision that Christen had not acted in self-defense when he carried the firearm while intoxicated and affirmed the appellate court’s decision that the law did not infringe on his Second Amendment right.

“Because the jury here found Christen guilty of operating or going armed with a firearm while intoxicated, the jury had to conclude that he was intoxicated and ‘less able to exercise the clear judgment and steady hand necessary to handle a firearm,’” Justice Annette Ziegler wrote in the majority opinion joined by Justices Patience Roggensack, Ann Walsh Bradley, Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky. Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote a concurring opinion.

But Rebecca Bradley’s dissent argues that the majority decision “erodes a fundamental freedom.”

“Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction,” Bradley writes, quoting a 19th century writer.

Her opinion focuses on her belief that the right to bear arms is most protected inside a person’s home and the state does not have the ability to restrict it.

“The majority never addresses Christen’s argument that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms in the home in case of confrontation, whether intoxicated or sober,” she writes. “It does.”

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.

3 thoughts on “State High Court Upholds Gun Conviction”

  1. blurondo says:

    “It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.” The New York Times, 12/5/15.
    It’s not a stretch to have more confidence in The New York Times than in Justice Bradley.

  2. GodzillakingMKE says:

    What about the 1st adm. Rights of firearms?

  3. smstreed@sbcglobal.net says:

    Is Justice Bradley not able to understand that at the time the second amendment was written, the only guns around were muskets? So yes, gun advocates are free to say that the constitution offers everyone the right to possess a musket. Have at it Gun Advocates! Go out and get your musket that fires musket balls! However, as to your handguns and automatics and semi-automatics and military grade weapons and police officer level firearms–they are regulated and there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits this.

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