By Dean Weingarten
Critical legislation that will improve your ability to defend yourself may be voted on in the Wisconsin state Senate this month. Senate Bill 169 will allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where an individual is legally allowed to be.
The bill moves the ball forward to make real what Wisconsin voted for in 1998 when they passed the Constitutional amendment noted above. Article I, Section 25. I remember it well. The people advocating for the amendment believed it was bulletproof and extremely clear.
The amendment passed through an extremely difficult process. It had to pass the legislature. Then an election had to occur. Then another legislature had to pass the amendment again. Then, finally, the measure was put before the people. It passed with 74% of the vote.
Sources in Wisconsin have told me that the votes are there to pass this reform bill. It is not an enormous change in the law. Wisconsin already has open carry. It brings a number of small changes that make rationalize various statutes to bring them in line with the state Constitution.
It will be a significant philosophical victory, however. It will show that when the people vote for something, even though the entire power of the elite establishment is arrayed against them, the will of the people can triumph. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has shown signs that it would be willing to uphold the plain language of the amendment, but that could take years, and depends on the willingness of prosecutors to appeal dubious cases.
When the last 12 or 13 states have instituted Constitutional Carry, crime rates have continued to drop. Those states show the freedom to keep and carry weapons has no real downside. Those who demand an unarmed population detest that idea.
The bill, SB 169, contains a number of reasonable reforms, such as allowing non-residents to obtain a Wisconsin carry permit.
Here are a few others:
- Eliminates prohibitions on carrying in public buildings generally, but allows posting under the trespass law for certain sensitive government buildings such as police stations, prisons, and secure mental health facilities.
- Eliminates prohibitions on carrying a gun or crossbow in a wildlife refuge
- Eliminates prohibitions on carrying on an all-terrain vehicle
- Eliminates prohibition on possession of a bow, crossbow, or firearm while shining a light on wildlife. (this has primarily been used against people viewing wildlife at night in car headlights. Hunting with lights is still prohibited.)
- Eliminates the prohibition on the possession of electric weapons, such as Tasers.
- Changes the state definition of “firearm” to be congruent with the federal definition that excludes muzzleloaders and antique and replica firearms.
The NRA-ILA is urging members to call their state senators in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin could become the 14th Constitutional Carry state in 2017. It will depend on how many Wisconsin citizens push their legislators to support this bill.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.