Prosecutors in Wisconsin have thrown out the charges against a truck driver who was caught with a handgun at a weigh station last year.
Case Dismissed Against Trucker Driving While Armed
On Monday, Kenosha County prosecutors opted to drop their charges against 52 year old truck driver and gun rights advocate Guy A. Smith on the day that his trial was set to begin. Smith was facing misdemeanor charges for carrying a concealed weapon.
Driver Cited After Being Caught With Gun At Weigh Station Without Permit
The charges were brought forth following an incident in June 2016. Smith pulled into a weigh station in Pleasant Prairie, making no attempt to conceal a firearm that was lying in the floorboard of his truck. Inspectors spotted the gun, seized the weapon, and cited Smith for carrying the gun in his truck without a conceal and carry permit.
In November of 2016, Smith appeared in court, backed by the gun rights advocacy group Wisconsin Carry Inc. Two arguments were made in Smith’s defense.
The first argument cited Wisconsin state law, which allows a person to carry a firearm at home or at work without a permit for the purposes of personal protection. Smith argued that he was both at home and at work when the gun was spotted and seized in the cab of his truck at the weigh station.
The second argument brought forth a little known state statute that seemed to undermine Wisconsin conceal and carry laws. The statute reads, “ … no person may place, possess, or transport a firearm, bow, or crossbow in or on a vehicle, unless one of the following applies: 1. The firearm is unloaded or is a handgun.”
The prosecution was so blindsided by Smith’s arguments that the judge chose to delay the trial by several months to give both sides more time to consider their arguments.
“I’m Just A Trucker Trying To Stay Alive”
In November prosecutors argued that Smith could have easily obtained a conceal and carry permit. Smith said that he hadn’t bothered to obtain a permit because he didn’t need one.
Smith commented, “I’m just a trucker trying to stay alive. I want my gun back, and I don’t want a record, and I’m not paying a fine. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Smith’s attorney John Monroe said of the dismissed charge:
“The charge should never have been filed because in 2011 the Legislature changed the law to allow handguns in cars to be unencased and loaded. Carrying a concealed weapon is no longer a crime applicable to handguns in vehicles … We are pleased the state came to its senses before wasting the taxpayers’ money on a trial even if the state did not afford us the courtesy of telling us it would dismiss the case before we prepared for a trial and traveled to Kenosha.”