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Protest with chicken hatches open carry debate

APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - A small group of protesters gave folks shopping at the Appleton Farm Market a major topic of discussion Saturday.

What do you feel safer with in public: Chickens or guns?

“This is Winchester,” Mark Scheffler told FOX 11. “She is a laying hen, and she is illegal.”

Scheffler says he doesn't understand why toting this Winchester is illegal, but carrying a rifle in a crowded farmer's market is perfectly within the law.

“You cannot have livestock inside the city limits of Appleton. The fine for keeping livestock is $263.50. The fine for carrying a loaded assault weapon through downtown Appleton is zero,” said Scheffler.

Scheffler says in reality both pose a public risk.

This protest comes in the wake of what happened to Charles Branstrom two weeks ago.

Branstrom says he and his friends were detained by police for carrying weapons, after someone called 911.

“In the past, any time anyone's called when I’ve carried a pistol, they usually come up and talk to us, find out our intentions, and go on our way,” Branstrom told FOX 11. 

This week, Branstrom was back out with his 9-millimeter handgun strapped on.

His friend carried two weapons, including a rifle. 

Appleton Police patrolling the market say they spoke with the men briefly.

“Any time weapons are introduced to a scene, it heightens everyone's awareness of it. So part of our job is to observe the behaviors associated with that and make a determination if we need to intervene or not,” said Deputy Chief Todd Olm.

 Meanwhile, police asked was asked Scheffler to remove his chicken.

Police say neither the men with the guns nor the man with the chicken were cited. But it did incite controversy.

 “I think it's kind of silly because what we did and what we do with open carry is perfectly legal. I don't know the actual law for the chickens but I could see that as a health hazard,” said Branstrom. 

“I am a hunter. I am a gun owner, and I think the weapons should have limitations,” said Scheffler.

Police say despite ruffled feathers, the law is the law.

The group organizing the protest calls itself Cluck or Duck, and says it plans on petitioning state legislators to limit open carry laws to rural areas.