Two Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin unveiled a Constitutional Carry bill.
The bill from Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Representative Robert Brooks (R-Saukville) would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license. Right now, a license is required to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin.
Similar legislation was introduced in 2017 by then-Sen. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon and my state Senator at the time) and Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma). Craig and Felzkowski told a Senate committee at the time that the legislation strengthens Wisconsin residents’ constitutional right to keep firearms. The bill failed.
Current law generally prohibits an individual from carrying a concealed weapon unless the individual has a license to carry a concealed weapon that is issued by the Department of Justice or unless the individual has a law enforcement identification card indicating that he or she is a qualified current or former law enforcement officer. Craig’s bill would have eliminated the general prohibition against going armed with a concealed weapon without regard to licensure status.
Current law requires anyone who carries a concealed weapon to obtain a permit and get training. The bill retained the license for people who want to obtain it, but also allowed for the carrying of a concealed weapon without obtaining a permit or undergoing training.
In April of 2018 I blogged:
WTMJ talk show host Jeff Wagner called the bill “the gangster’s friend” as well as “crazy” and “just a dumb idea.”
The Racine Journal Times Editorial Board weighed in here…
It seems to us that if a state resident is going to carry a gun for personal protection, it is a reasonable requirement for that person to undergo some basic firearm safety training to make sure he or she knows how to use that weapon properly. And safely.
Part of the “sell” for the concealed-carry law were the assurances that law-abiding citizens would be required to have a background check to prove they aren’t felons and to undergo some basic firearms training as a safety measure.
But now, in a classic example of bait and switch, a pair of Republican legislators want to renege on that commitment and eliminate permit and training requirements.
—April 6, 2018
In 2017 then-Governor Scott Walker said, “I think the law we have right now is a good law. I’m comfortable with that. The people that talk to me about it say they like where it’s at. Obviously we’re one of the last states to have concealed carry and people said the world was going to come to an end who were the critics. It hasn’t. We’re one of the larger number of permits in the country and it works well that way. … What I’ve heard from folks is they are happy with the law as it is.”
So let’s keep it that way.