Eight months after an Oconomowoc woman left her loaded handgun in a Brookfield church restroom, she is facing a new criminal charge, while her husband will likely avoid prosecution for a similar incident at a Door County amusement park.
Susan Hitchler, 67, beat the initial charge of negligent handling of a weapon when a Waukesha County judge dismissed a criminal complaint in June.
Now, a prosecutor has charged Hitchler with disorderly conduct. Gun rights advocates say Hitchler turned down an offer to avoid the charge if she would give up her concealed carry permit and forfeit her Ruger .380 caliber gun.
Apparently, it is not explicitly against the law to accidentally leave your gun in a bathroom in Wisconsin. But that’s not going to stop the prosecutor, who will try a little button-mashing on the statutes to get some conviction. Because this prosecutor knows this woman’s actions were wrong, and this prosecutor apparently is in the business of prosecuting those who do wrong instead of those who break the law.
Reading the article, it looks like the woman and her husband either have a major case of the whoopsies in this department, or they’re having the normal number of whoopsies in this department but the authorities have their eyes all upon them.
In no way am I advocating careless handling and forgetting of firearms, but I don’t wonder if they represent a talisman of extra bad. People leave dangerous things lying around once in a while, including knives, chemicals, prescription drugs. I mean, my pocket knife falls out of my pants pocket once in a while. Is that negligent handling of a weapon or disorderly conduct in Waukesha County? If the wrong person or a child picked it up, couldn’t something bad happen? Isn’t that the argument usually made to go treat guns differently from everything else?
If leaving a heater unattended is going to be against the law, perhaps a legislative body should pass this as a law explicitly and leave the prosecutor’s creative endeavors to model trains or weekend painting classes.