A controversial bill to change Wisconsin’s open carry law received a public hearing Wednesday at the Capitol. “Constitutional carry” allows gun owners to carry concealed without getting training or state permits.
Milwaukee Democrat, State Senator Lena Taylor, has a problem with that. “I voted for concealed carry. I believe that people have a right to carry. But I believe that some levels of restriction are appropriate,” Taylor said.
The bill had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, chaired by Racine Republican Van Wanggard. “This bill does not preclude somebody from receiving training,” noted Wanggard, a former law enforcement officer who said he believes people who carry should get training. The current requirement is only four hours. This bill also essentially nullifies the state’s gun free schools statute, although districts may still post their schools to prohibit weapons.
The bills’ Senate author, Republican David Craig, said his bill mirrors gun laws already in place in 12 other states, “from relatively conservative Arizona, to Bernie Sanders own home state of Vermont.”
The bill has the support of the National Rifle Association, whose lobbyist Scott Meyer testified in favor of it. Meyer said the gun rights organization has learned that many people can’t afford training. “What we also learned . . . one of the great equalizers after the Emancipation Proclamation, was firearms ownership for the blacks.”
Taylor – who is African-American – objected to Meyer’s choice of words. “That wasn’t a great way to say it, don’t say ‘the blacks,'” Taylor said.
Wanggard said he had no immediate plans to schedule a committee vote on the bill.