The Concealed Weapons Battle is just Getting Started.
By Corey Graff, Executive Director
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- It’s been nearly a year since Wisconsin’s concealed weapons law took effect.
Gun owners are busy doing lots of things to take advantage of the new law, but few are pushing to change or improve it. That is a mistake.
For one thing, the law is fraught with problems. And now is the greatest opportunity to fully restore our rights. The problem is, neoconservatives are very good at doing nothing — they’re petrified they’ll lose ground they’ve gained if they push the issue, so they become mute.
“We’ll hurt our own cause.” Such is the rallying cry of compromisers.
Strings Attached in the CCW Law
When the current concealed weapons law was being floated, gun owners were kept in the dark regarding the fine print of the “shall-issue” permit to-carry bill. This organization mobilized the only effective outcry against the requirement to catalog permit holders in a “computerized database” maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. We said it was a gun owner registration list. Such a list — that is, gun owner registration — is unanimously opposed by gun owners when considering the issue on its own merits. However, when cloaked in the fine print of an otherwise good gun bill like concealed carry, they tended to look the other way.
Legislators claimed the only way to have a permit system was to tie it to a licensing database. That, of course, is false. There actually is a third option — good old-fashioned paper licenses, just like grandpa used to show the game warden while out duck hunting. There is no absolute requirement for bureaucrats to be keeping a list of gun owners.
The other problem with Wisconsin’s CCW law is the cost to maintain the program. The license fees create a cottage industry of trainers. I know some who charge $100 per person for a four-hour class. I’m not suggesting they don’t believe strongly in what they’re doing, but the point is that this new business model creates vested interests that mitigate strongly against reforms toward less restriction. Everybody profits from the restrictions.
In fact, business is so lucrative several police departments across Wisconsin — including the Woodruff PD, New London PD and Greendale PD to name but a few — are now offering classes to the public for between $50-$100 a pop! Why would the enforcers of the law now be getting into the teaching business?
Gun Lobby: Where is the Unified Front?
The institutional gun lobby made a good show in the months leading up to public hearings during the last legislative session about how much they support Constitutional Carry. I suspected that this was just lip service to deal with the overwhelming grassroots support for SB93 (Constitutional Carry).
When state legislators divided up the hearings between Madison and Wausau and professional gun lobbyist insiders glossed over the fact that the permit bill (SB90) was actually killing the better bill, and that two diametrically opposed concepts were on the table, I suggested a rat was smelling up the place.
This is perhaps the most important reason why we need to keep pushing for Constitutional Carry in Wisconsin: If the institutional gun lobby fails to actively support it now (they always claimed they wanted to get a permit bill to get their foot in the door and would later work toward Constitutional Carry) and then refuse to fight for it, or actively oppose it, you will know the so-called guardians of our gun rights have lied.
Like the right to freedom of religion or free speech, our right to bear arms was never intended to be subject to government regulation. This organization will demand that message stays alive.
WGO works for grassroots gun owners, not politicians. While many gun lobbies fight for “reasonable gun control,” WGO sets a higher standard: Defining the terrain of pro-gun political battle. Sure, many groups claim they’re “pro-gun” – all the while they provide cover for anti-gun deals cut by politicians – but only WGO truly informs gun owners, remaining committed to a 100% pro-gun position. We oppose all gun control – regardless of the political party – and work tirelessly to restore the Second Amendment. Visit www.wisconsingunowners.org