Gun Case Law Change
Madison, Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- Since 1917, Wisconsin gun owners have been required by state law to transport guns in cases. And leaning a gun up against a vehicle was also a violation.
That changed on November 4, when Governor Scott Walker signed SB228 into law (Act 51), making it legal to transport unloaded long guns without cases. That includes boats as well as automobiles, an important victory for waterfowl hunters.
“The mandatory gun case law was a stupid, overbearing restriction that required gun owners to keep their guns clean,” said Corey Graff, Executive Director of WGO. “It criminalized dirty guns — the ultimate Big Brother example of state control run amok.”
But DNR officials, who oversee regulation of the state’s over 600,000 gun deer hunters, were crying rivers of tears over the law’s demise.
“This is not what we need,” said Dave Zeug of Shell Lake, a retired Wisconsin game warden, it was reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It does nothing to improve the quality of the hunt, and it certainly won’t make things safer.”
The DNR had in the past opposed the bill, but this year took a more neutral tone.
SB228 was fast-tracked after being introduced on October 12 by State Senators Moulton, Holperin, Kedzie, Galloway and Lazich. State Rep. Scott Krug was one of many republican co-sponsors.
In its coverage of the law change, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cited statistics showing Wisconsin’s firearm incidents of 1.1 to 100,000 hunters as compared to the national average of 3.0 to 100,000, in what appears to gun activists as an attempt to show causation between the mandatory gun case law and the Badger State’s low accident rate.
According to the Journal Sentinel report, “Tim Lawhern, administrator of the DNR’s Enforcement and Science Division, said Wisconsin hunter education courses will continue to recommend firearms be transported unloaded and in cases. “It’s the safest way,” Lawhern claimed. “It also protects your investment.”
Yet, despite Lawhern’s assertion that gun cases are the “safest way,” the 2011 Wisconsin Gun Deer Season was the third fatality-free season on record, since records have been kept. The law change went into effect on Nov. 18 — one day before the gun deer season.
Said Lawhern after the season (where those uncased firearms failed to kill anybody), “Hunters can be proud of a second consecutive firearm-related, fatality-free year and the third fatality free season on record. This is an important milestone and one we hope to see again and again in future seasons.”
Without the State forcing gun owners to lock their guns in cases — whether to protect them from dust or from themselves — it is hard to fathom how hunters managed one of the safest seasons ever.
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