By State Representative, Leon D. Young
July 8, 2011 is a date that should live in infamy in the annals of Wisconsin state history. By way of reference, it was on this date that Wisconsin became the 49th state to allow its citizens to carry undercover guns. And, with one brief stroke of Scott Walker’s executive pen, Wisconsin went from being one of the final pair remaining holdouts on concealed carry to a state that now has one of the more permissive laws in the country.
It’s important to remember that Governor Walker is on record as having said, “By signing concealed carry into law today we are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.” The measure that was eventually signed into law included provisions requiring training and permits, which were sought by both Walker and Democrats.
But that was then (2011) and this is now (2017). Under a far-reaching, Republican-backed proposal, concealed firearms could be legally carried without a license in Wisconsin. There are currently two companion bills sitting in committee (Assembly Bill 247 and Senate Bill 169), which have the potential to unlock Pandora’s Box in terms of removing concealed carry restrictions. To make matters worse, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety now plans to hold a public hearing on the Senate measure (SB 169). The hearing is scheduled Wednesday, May 31st at 9:30 a.m. in room 411 South of the State Capitol.
This dangerous new bill would allow just about anyone – even people ages 18, 19 and 20 – to carry a gun with:
• No permit
• No background check
• No training
In addition, this misguided legislation would also allow licensed concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms into places where they are currently barred, including sensitive places like: school buildings, police stations and mental health facilities.
The so-called “right to carry” bill comes six years after Wisconsin legalized concealed weapons. More than 300,000 people have active licenses. But, this begs the question: Is advancing concealed carry legislation prudent public policy?
In my opinion, we, as elected officials, should be trying to prevent wanton gun violence – not encouraging it by promoting legislation that merely increases the number of handguns in our midst. Concealed Carry 2.0 (or the right to carry) provides no real deterrence to crime and is TERRIBLE PUBLIC POLICY!