Written by Charles Davis, Green Bay Press Gazette
GREEN BAY, Wisc. - Two men openly carrying an assault rifle and shotgun were stopped by police this afternoon in downtown Green Bay.
The Brown County Sheriff's Department reported the incident just after 2 p.m. after the men were seen walking near the Brown County Courthouse with the firearms slung over their shoulders, said Green Bay police Capt. Bill Galvin.
Police and deputies stopped the men at the corner of East Walnut and Madison streets. One of the men was carrying an AR-15 rifle, the same weapon used in 2012 mass shootings at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
Officers checked their IDs and also looked over one man's concealed carry licenses after he admitted he was carrying another firearm that was out of view. The stop lasted a few minutes, and the men were allowed to continue walking. One of the men said he was enjoying the weather and that they were looking for a hot dog vendor.
The men did not identify themselves to news media, but one said he had openly carried before in Appleton, although he was not stopped by police there.
Last month, two men carrying rifles near the downtown Appleton farm market were detained by police. Officers determined they were legally carrying the rifles, along with concealed pistols. Both men were released without receiving a citation.
Open carry is legal in Wisconsin, and police said officers are trained to recognize all residents' constitutional rights. In the past, police have received calls about people openly carrying pistols on their hips, but he does not recall an incident involving long guns, Galvin said.
"It's a constitutional right unless they go near a school or another type of area where those types of weapons are prohibited," Galvin said.
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