- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - A man arrested in St. Cloud for openly carrying an assault rifle is suing the city, claiming his constitutional rights were violated.

Tyler Gottwalt, who has a permit to carry a gun, argues the city’s gun law is more restrictive than the state statute on carrying firearms in public. The local law allows a person to carry a handgun in public with a permit, but prohibits firearms that aren’t carried in a case or “broken apart.”

In November 2014, police officers from St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids converged on Gottwalt as he walked across the Sauk Rapids Bridge with an AK-47 slung across his back, the St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/1UCZvt7 ) reported.

Sauk Rapids officers consulted with a lawyer and agreed that Gottwalt had the right to carry military-style rifle because he had a permit to carry, so they let him go. But St. Cloud officers disagreed and cited Gottwalt for possessing a gun that wasn’t cased.

A Stearns County District Court judge later dismissed the charges against Gottwalt.

Gottwalt is suing the city of St. Cloud and three police officers. His lawsuit alleges false arrest, illegal imprisonment, malicious prosecution and violation of his Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The state statute on gun permits allows a valid permit holder to carry a BB gun, rifle or shotgun in public. It prohibits government authorities from changing, modifying or supplementing those state procedures or “limiting the exercise of a permit to carry.”

The city of St. Cloud argues that Gottwalt’s assault rifle doesn’t meet the definition of a “pistol” as defined in state statutes and that it’s “absurd” that the Legislature intended to allow a man to carry such a weapon on a city street.

Gottwalt’s attorney said he doesn’t advocate “that people should walk around with a loaded AK-47 or M16,” but state statute is clear and it trumps a city ordinance.


Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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