As promised last month, a Milwaukee gun rights organization filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Madison alleging that Metro Transit’s policy banning guns on buses violates state law.
Wisconsin Carry Inc. claims in its lawsuit that Metro’s policy, which bans firearms from buses and from bus shelters, violates a provision in a 2011 Wisconsin law that allows people to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Metro is pre-empted by state law from banning the carrying of guns on buses and at bus shelters. Along with Wisconsin Carry, another plaintiff is Thomas Waltz, a Madison resident who contacted Metro in 2012 to point out what he said was a discrepancy between state law and Metro’s policy.
Representing Wisconsin Carry is John R. Monroe, a Roswell, Ga., lawyer who has challenged city firearms policies in court in the past.
According to the lawsuit, the concealed carry law allows license holders to carry concealed firearms in motor vehicles and those who are not licensed to carry non-concealed firearms in motor vehicles, meaning that it is no longer a violation of state law to carry a loaded handgun on a Metro bus.
The lawsuit claims that Metro is not allowed to regulate the carrying of firearms in a way that is more stringent than state law.
City officials told the State Journal last month that they are confident that Metro’s policy is legal and are prepared to defend it in court. Metro has instructed drivers to calmly ask anyone trying to board a bus with a gun to comply with the policy.
According to the lawsuit, Wisconsin Carry asked Metro in a letter to change its policy, but Metro responded that the policy is not pre-empted by state law and is “consistent with guidance received from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”
The case has been assigned to Dane County Circuit Judge Ellen Berz.