Gun found on ballfield traced to Whitewater grandpa
JANESVILLE—A man whose handgun was found in a softball outfield at the Janesville Youth Sports Complex said he is embarrassed and vows to keep his weapon locked in his car next time.
A player found the loaded, .380 semiautomatic handgun Sunday during a game, said Aaron Ellis, president of Janesville Youth Baseball and a Janesville police sergeant.
The player turned it over to the umpire. One of the coaches was an off-duty police officer, who called police, Ellis said.
The possibility of banning guns at games was discussed at a Janesville Youth Baseball board meeting this week.
Ellis said the situation is complicated because it appears state law does not allow cities to ban concealed carry in parks, but the baseball group leases Youth Sports Complex fields from the city.
“My choice would be to be able to post it 'no concealed carry.' If that option is available to us, I think that's the way we're going to go,” Ellis said.
Roger Gransee of Whitewater said he was acting as catcher as his granddaughter warmed up for her 12-and-under fastpitch game Sunday when he lost the handgun.
“I am so embarrassed by this, it's unreal. It was just a careless mistake,” Gransee told The Gazette.
Gransee has a permit under the state's concealed-carry law, and concealed carry is not banned in Janesville parks, including the sports complex, police Lt. Keith Lawver said.
The handgun was turned over to a Janesville police officer at the ball field at 5:28 p.m. Sunday, according to the police report.
A detective continues to investigate and will consult with the district attorney's office about the potential for charges, Lawver said.
The city prohibits concealed carry in city buildings “and structures that contain a sign prohibiting the carrying of weapons and firearms,” according to the city website.
According to the State Bar of Wisconsin, municipalities are not allowed to ban firearms on government lands, which includes parks.
Guns can be banned in park shelters and other buildings, however.