Those wishing to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin would have to obtain a permit and meet training requirements, under a compromise bill advanced Thursday by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.
The measure directs the Department of Justice to establish a licensing system for concealed carry. The five year permits would require a fee for background checks, with the total cost being around $50 for both.
The amendment to the bill also lays out several possible avenues for permit seekers to meet a training mandate. They include completing a DNR hunter education program or a firearms and safety course offered by a number of different organizations. It also allows permits from other states with similar requirements to be accepted in Wisconsin.
State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) says the measure is needed to provide clarity on the issue, after the Supreme Court ruled several years ago that lawmakers needed to deal with questions about concealed carry. Olsen says people have a right to carry guns and the bill establishes a system to make sure they do so legally. He says lawmakers should be more concerned about those who obtain and carry guns illegally.
Democrats raised a number of objections to the bill, including the limited restrictions on where concealed weapons will still be banned. The measure prohibits permit holders from carrying them into most law enforcement facilities, court houses, and any building that specifically posts guns are not allowed.
State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) says the list of automatic inclusions should have been expanded to included places such as hospitals and churches. Jauch believes most of those locations will want them banned as well, but will now have to shoulder the cost of posting signs at all entrances to keep them out.
Milwaukee Democrat Tamara Grigsby accused Republicans of advancing a “shoot to kill” mentality in Wisconsin. She says the bill is another step towards turning Wisconsin into a “vigilante state” and urged lawmakers to think about the impact it will have on communities.
Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states that still ban concealed carry. The state Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.