18 Arrested in Wisconsin Assembly for Using Cameras; Guns Still Allowed

Source: PR Watch

Eighteen people were arrested Tuesday for using cameras in the Wisconsin Assembly gallery, including the editor of The Progressive magazine, Matt Rothschild.

Rothschild and others had gone to the capitol to protest a series of arrests in recent weeks of individuals who carried signs or took photos or video in defiance of an Assembly ban.

"We ought to have a right to take a picture," Rothschild said.

Guns, Yes. Cameras, No.

The protest was organized through a Facebook event called "Concealed Camera Day at the Capitol!" The event coincided with the implementation of Wisconsin's new concealed carry law, which allows residents to carry a concealed firearm -- including inside the Assembly gallery.

Stephen Colbert said Governor Walker was bringing "a new freedom to America's dairyland" with the concealed carry law, but said people would not see "images of gunfire in the statehouse" because of the camera ban. "Thank God. Cameras are dangerous," he said.

On the agenda in Tuesday's session was a bill to institute the Castle Doctrine, a "shoot first, ask questions later" bill that gives a person immunity from civil and criminal liability if they shoot another in self defense in their home, work, or vehicle. The American Legislative Exchange Council also has a model Castle Doctrine bill -- see the side-by-side here.

Event organizers were clear that the protests were not about the gun laws, but instead about protecting First Amendment rights.

Continue Reading