Council Debates Removing Sign Prohibiting Firearms at City Hall

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) At its Monday meeting, the Common Council discussed removing a sign prohibiting firearms at City Hall. The item was brought forward for consideration by a resident who is a concealed carry permit holder.

Under Marshfield Municipal Code, no armed person can enter a public building that has been properly signed. A sign notifying the individual must be no less than 5 by 7 inches.

“Crooks don’t go by ordinances and signs,” said Alderman Tom Buttke. “I think there’s some rationale for it.”

“The idea that you’re safer because there’s more people with guns, it’s not verified by any statistics. It shows exactly the opposite,” said Alderman Steve MacSwain.

“Back when I was on the Plan Commission in 2013, I was the only one that spoke up against a person requesting the ability to sell guns out of his house. ” said Alderman Chris Jockheck. “I voted against it and within a week there was a dead rabbit in the middle of my mat on my front door. That’s not a coincidence…Both of my cars were keyed.”

“I’m not sure what the purpose is,” he continued. “That sign’s been there for a long time and it just make sense. We don’t want any guns around here other than those carried by a police officer. I don’t live in that kind of fear even though I’m the one that had that bunny put on to be intimidating.”

“As someone who as part of my duties carried a gun almost every day for 30 some years, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that,” said Alderman Nick Poeschel. “I can tell you that no matter if you make an ordinance or a rule that nobody can bring a gun in here, or that everybody can bring a gun in here, if you have a sign on the door or not, it’s not going to stop someone who has ill intentions. What the sign will do, though, is prevent that accident from happening.”

“You can’t regulate morality,” said Alderman Rebecca Spiros. “People who participate in mass shootings, there’s no rules you’re going to set that are going to make them not go out and commit a crime. I think what signs like this do is, you advertise that you have everybody in your building defenseless. Mass shootings have occurred in schools, they’ve occurred on military bases…both of which are gun free zones.”

Alderman MacSwain said, “Regardless of anything else, if there’s multiple people with a gun in a shooting situation, you’re making the situation worse for the people that are supposed to be carrying guns to settle it. How are they supposed to know who you are?”

“Our code is really a mirror of state statute. The real question isn’t really changing the code,” said City Attorney Harold Wolfgram. “If this body were to do something, it would make a decision whether it wants to by policy remove us from the provision that [the sign is] posted.”

Since members were absent, the item was moved to the Nov. 12 meeting to allow a decision from the full Council.

Kaylin S
Author: Kaylin S

Kaylin Speth is a Marshfield native with a bachelor's degree in English from UW-Green Bay. She enjoys highlighting the many great things happening in the community and bringing to life the untold stories. Email the team at [email protected]