September 24, 2013

When Mark Scheffler was asked to leave a gun protest, along with his brown hen named Winchester, on Saturday, he made exactly the point he was hoping for.

Chickens are far safer than firearms and laws allowing for open carry need to change, said Scheffler of Appleton, WI.

"Carrying a loaded assault weapon in downtown Appleton, the fine is zero dollars," he said. "The fine for carrying a loaded chicken — and she is loaded — is $263.50."

A city ordinance that prohibits animals at special events and Scheffler agreed to leave. Although he didn't receive a citation on Saturday, he suspects he will receive one. He said the fine amount is "chicken feed" when compared to the awareness he counted on generating.

Appleton's farm market was thrust into the national spotlight on Second Amendment rights two weeks ago as Charles Branstrom and Ross Bauman walked along the street with AR-15 rifles on their backs.

While there were 911 calls made about the armed men as they walked around, they weren't arrested or fined.

Demonstrators who joined Scheffler wore T-shirts emblazoned with silhouettes of a chicken and an AR-15 rifle. They passed out leaflets encouraging people to contact state lawmakers in support of a change to the law. They argued that while open carry is fine in rural areas, cities should have the right to decide whether people can outwardly carry their guns within their borders.

Scheffler said he's a gun owner and has no issue with guns in general. They're just not appropriate at public gatherings.

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