(The Center Square) – You can get drunk in your home. You can carry a gun in your home. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, however, says you cannot do both at the same time, if you threaten the people you live with.
A 6-1 majority on the court on Tuesday ruled against Mitchell Christen in a case that tested the limits of the Second Amendment.
“Wisconsin law bars the use of a firearm when the individual is intoxicated,” Chief Justice Annette Ziegler wrote for the majority. “This does not completely dispossess a lawful firearm owner from ownership. It merely limits the circumstances under which the lawful firearm owner may use or carry the firearm, specifically while intoxicated.”
Madison Police arrested Christen back in 2018, they said he was drunk and armed with a pistol and a shotgun inside his own apartment. He was there with his roommates. They told police he grabbed the guns after some pushing and shoving, then locked himself in his room, and threatened anyone who came in with a “face full of lead.”
Christen challenged his arrest as a Second Amendment violation.
Ziegler wrote, essentially, being drunk doesn’t end your right to bear arms, but it doesn’t limit how you can carry them or use them.
“The right to keep and bear arms has never prevented governments from enacting reasonable regulations to curtail the reckless handling of firearms, such as prohibitions on firing in a crowded area or brandishing a firearm in ways dangerous to others and not in self-defense. And the unique danger of intoxication when combined with potentially deadly force has long been acknowledged,” Ziegler stated in her opinion.
The only dissenting justice, conservative Rebecca Bradley, wrote that Second Amendment protections don’t end after a few drinks.
“The majority also misapprehends the difference between operating a firearm in self-defense and going armed in case of confrontation. The fact that Christen did not act in self defense has nothing to do with his Second Amendment right to go armed,” Bradley wrote in her dissent.
Bradley says the ruling “erodes a fundamental freedom.”
Christen was convicted of drunkenly carrying a gun back in 2018, and he was sentenced to nine months in jail. That sentence was put on hold while the case played out in the courts.