A bill that would allow Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit has advanced out of a state Senate committee.
The legislation makes a number of changes to the state’s concealed carry law, which include allowing anyone who can legally own a gun to carry a concealed weapon in most places. It would also allow permit holders to have a gun on school grounds, if they are within a few feet of their vehicle. Felons, who currently are not allowed to have guns in Wisconsin, could also possess muzzleloaders and firearms made before 1898.
State Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the bill Tuesday on a 3-2 vote. He noted the state already has an open carry law, and he believes extending that right to concealed carry would create “less tension” in situations where a person has a weapon on them. “I think this is good policy,” he said.
Democrats on the committee opposed the bill, which Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) argued supports those who are seeking to weaken firearms laws. “We have a problem in this country with too much liberalization on firearms laws, and this just adds to it,” he said.
Wisconsin adopted a concealed carry law in 2011, and there are now more than 330,000 people who have a permit.
The bill now heads to the full Senate, where it could be voted on next month. While Governor Scott Walker has previously said he is fine with the system the state currently has in place, Wanggaard believes the governor will sign the legislation if it makes it to his desk.