A husband and wife in Wisconsin have both been charged in separate incidents in which they left their firearms in public bathrooms.
Gerald Hitchler, 76, reportedly left his loaded Ruger .380-caliber in its holster on the floor of a men’s room at Egg Harbor Fun Park, an indoor-outdoor amusement park in Door County, on Aug. 9.
Someone turned in the gun to the park owner and he waited for someone to come looking for the it. When no one ever did, he called the sheriff’s office.
The gun was traced to Hitchler, who was then contacted by a deputy.
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Hitchler, who has a concealed-carry permit, was shocked that the gun was found at the amusement park but acknowledged he had been there with his wife.
The Door County prosecutor didn’t pursue charges and Hitchler was supposed to pick up the gun on Wendesday, until the sheriff’s office learned that his wife had a similar incident in April.
Susan Hitchler, 67, was charged with misdemeanor negligent handling of a weapon after she left her gun in the ladies’ room of Elmbrook Church. A janitor noticed the gun and handed it over to building security.
A judge in Waukesha County dismissed the case against Susan in June, finding that no one was endangered by the gun.
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Authorities are now asking the Door County prosecutor to review the amusement park incident.
President of Wisconsin Carry Inc. Nik Clark told the Journal Sentinel that leaving a gun in public places violates a fundamental rule to conceal-carry: "Maintain control of your firearm at all times."
But Clark doesn’t believe Hitchler should be charged.
"But that's only a crime if a child does get access to it and if the child injures themselves or others by discharging that gun. So that didn't happen in this case," he said. "Stupid yes, careless yes, criminal? I don't think so."
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / James Case, Flickr Hive Mind