Wisconsin Assembly passes concealed carry!

By Jim Irvine

After a long day of party caucusing, and last minute deals, concealed carry passed the Wisconsin Assembly in an early morning vote. SB 403 passed by a margin of 64-32.

Conversation with key officials late in the evening indicated that the bill’s primary sponsors, Senator David Zien (R-23) of Eau Claire and Representative Scott Gunderson (R-83) of Waterford, were in discussion with several legislators who supported the concept of concealed carry, but were reluctant to override their Democratic Governor’s expected veto.

Ohioans will remember strikingly similar circumstances in the late hours of HB12’s passage, when several Republican Senators refused to commit to override a threatened Governor Taft veto, leading to concessions on media access to CCW licensee information under the auspices of making sure the Sheriff’s properly did their job. Interestingly, we have see no reports from major media involving how well most sheriff’s are doing their job, nor coverage when one sheriff allegedly violated the law and released protected information which was printed.

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Because the bill was amended, it must be voted on again in the Wisconsin Senate, where it previously passed 23-10. (one more vote than needed to override Doyle's veto.) The Wisconsin Senate is scheduled to meet next on January 17th. After it passes in the Senate, the bill will head to Governor Jim Doyle (D) who has vowed to veto this important legislation, just as he vetoed CCW last session. Concealed carry failed to become law then because one Democrat who was a co-sponsor of the legislation put politics ahead of principle and allowed his Governor’s veto to stand, thus allowing criminals to continue to prey on unarmed victims.

In an attempt to secure the required votes, concessions were made that will limit the blood alcohol content (BAC) for carrying firearms to .02, and there will be required training to renew a license. Additionally, carry within 100 feet of schools will be prohibited. (Note: This provision could be very difficult to comply with. We have not had time to fully review this amendment. Be very careful!) Numerous anti-gun amendments including attempts to prohibit CCW in parks and playgrounds, in day care centers, and on college campuses, were defeated. The Wisconsin legislature also wisely defeated attempts to make licensee information available to the media or the general public and did not allow employers to ban license holders from storing firearms in their personal automobiles.

With an estimated 60,000 people planning to attend the NRA annual meetings in Milwaukee Wisconsin May 19-21 of 2006, the whole country is watching in anticipation of Wisconsin becoming the 39’th right to carry state, leaving Kansas, Nebraska, and Illinois as the only states that do not allow any of their residents to defend their lives with a firearm.

As expected, the anti-gunners claimed the law was “extreme” “unintelligent” and “very dangerous” and would lead to “road rage” “more deaths” “more accidents” and “more children being killed.” Reminiscent of Ohio, their arguments can generally be summed up as, “Oh the humanity!” Of course, we know that Wisconsin residents will find those claims as false as they were in Ohio and the rest of the country.

In Ohio, we look forward to the passage of HB347 in the Ohio legislature, sponsored by Representative Aslanides (R-94), to improve Ohio’s firearms laws. Buckeye Firearms Association will bring you the news as it continues to move through the Ohio legislature next year.

For more information on events in Wisconsin, click here.

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