The guest for the July 24 show of Missouri Freedom Radio was the candidate for sheriff of Shannon County: Thad Wheeler. Thad Wheeler is a supporter of the Open Carry movement and the 2nd amendment in general. He has served as Summersville’s Chief of Police, and is a proponent of States Rights.
To start things off, the Missouri Freedom Radio Show Host asked: what should a sheriff ultimately be doing?
Wheeler: Well, first of all, the sheriff works for the people. And that’s something we’ve got to remember. If we elect someone, they are our servants. And the sheriff is just that. He’s not here to be a minion of the state or federal government – but to actually work for the people while enforcing the laws that are constitutional.
Missouri Freedom Radio: Could you tell us a little bit about your involvement with the open-carry movement in Missouri?
Wheeler: I’ve been open-carry now for several years before becoming law-enforcement, and then as a law enforcement officer. I’m very supportive of the open-carry movement. Missouri has had an open carry law since 1887, I believe, but most people don’t know that it existed. Now when we tried to pass conceal carry bill back in 99, there were a lot of people who freaked out over this, thinking that all of the sudden people were now going to be allowed to carry guns. What the problem was however, is that they were just not aware that we could already carry guns. It was just the issue of how someone like me, who open-carried everywhere I went nearly – if I put a coat on because it was wintertime, I would go from a law-abiding citizen to a felon (through covering the weapon up). So when we tried to get the conceal-carry bill to go through, people thought that something drastic was going to change. People were going to be allowed to carry weapons, when we already could. So it’s simply educating the public that it’s what it’s all about. And of course exercising our second amendment rights, and our Missouri constitutional right to keep and bear arms in defending ourselves, and our families.
Missouri Freedom Radio: We’ve heard that some folks who have contacted their local county police department, and ask if it was illegal to open-carry – upon which they were told “No – but if you try to open-carry, we’ll arrest you anyway.” What will these people be arrested for?
Wheeler: We had a situation here in a town nearby where one of the officers was told that an event, someone was open carrying. And the officer said that he’d wished he had been there, because he would have arrested this individual. So I called that city’s prosecuting attorney, and I said this officer said this, and what about it? Well, the city’s attorney said No, that is his right. He can’t be arrested for that. So I’m hoping that attorney contacted that officer and straightened him out a little bit. But it’s a matter of, and I hate to say this, but sometimes we have officers who, if they don’t like something, they will starting trying to find other reasons to harass that person in order to get them to stop doing that thing they don’t like. It’s unconstitutional, and it’s not right, but it does happen.
Missouri Freedom Radio: If an individual would like to open carry in a local town or city, and they don’t have an ordinance against it, is there anything a person should do as a courtesy before hand? What would you recommend?
Wheeler: When I moved back into the area several years ago, I researched the laws, and tried to find out what were my rights – well, my privileges I should say. Because we have the right to carry whether or not a local entity recognizes that. But I did some research, and then I just started carrying. But I would recommend contacting your local city prosecutor/attorney, and let them know that you understand there’s no state law against it, but ask if there are any city ordinances on it. I’m not an attorney, so this is not a legal advice. (Missouri Tenth Note: It might be wise to discuss this with your local county sheriff before open carrying. Especially in the current climate where all law-enforcement may be on high alert – and more prone to shoot first, and ask questions later.)
To listen to the rest of this show: Missouri Freedom Radio: Thad Wheeler