Legislation legalizing concealed carry in Wisconsin is on its way to the Governor’s desk, following a bi-partisan vote in the Assembly Tuesday night. The legislation includes permit and training requirements, which supporters say will help to ensure the public is protected.
Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) says the bill is an effort 16-years in the making, following repeated attempts by lawmakers to make Wisconsin the 49th state to legalize concealed carry. Similar legislation was twice approved by lawmakers in previous sessions, only to be vetoed by then-Governor Jim Doyle.
During debate on the Assembly floor, Democrats offered five amendments to the bill that they argued were needed to enhance public safety. They addressed issues such as expanding the list of locations where concealed weapons would be banned outright. The bill currently would ban them from many law enforcement facilities and courthouses but requires other locations to clearly post signs saying they are not allowed.
All attempts by Democrats to change the bill were blocked by Republicans.
State Representative Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) says there are still serious safety concerns about concealed carry, and the GOP rushed the bill through without addressing them. Seidel says the push comes despite the majority of Wisconsinites not even calling for the change. The Wausau Democrat says the priorities of lawmakers are “completely upside down” and the majority of Wisconsin is not “banging down our door insisting that we pass this law.”
Democrats also argued that the bill encourages citizens to take the law into their own hands and will put public safety at risk. State Representative Scott Krug (R-Wisconsin Rapids) countered that the permitting system will make sure those carrying a concealed weapon are actually more responsible because they have to take time to become educated about the proper use of the weapon. He says those making responsible choices are “not going to go into a bar and shoot everyone up.”
The bill now heads to Governor Walker, who has indicated he will sign the legislation.
Following the vote on concealed carry, Democrats attempted to pull several bills that are part of their jobs agenda to the floor for a vote. Republicans blocked those efforts, stranding those bills in legislative committees.