Concealed Carry passes in the State Senate

Greg Vanevenhoven is our summer intern at WFA and we are thrilled to have him join us!  He will be attending the UW Law School this fall.

Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Senate voted on bipartisan lines, 25-8, to finally pass a law that allows the concealed carry of firearms in most places, with exceptions for schools, police stations, courthouses, and a dozen other specified locations.  It is refreshing to see the Senate pass this law, which legalizes an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment in the Constitution as well as protected in Article I, Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution. Needless to say, the law was not voted on immediately as the Senate first addressed 20+ amendments put forward by Democratic senators.

I had the pleasure of being able to listen to most of the debate and the particular amendments proposed, which allowed me to realize how strongly some members of the State Senate felt about the concealed carry law.  Some of the amendments introduced by Democratic senators concerned the fears of allowing concealed carry in places such as the State Capitol, county fairs, or polling places.

However, the bills authors’ countered that the bill addresses those fears with a permit requirement allowing citizens to carry a concealed weapon only if they pass a background check, which will effectively eliminate the concern that felons will be able to carry concealed weapons.  By providing such proposals, it ensures that individuals will not be allowed to carry a concealed weapon if they are not law-abiding citizens.

Senator Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) was absolutely correct when he pointed out in the debate on the Senate floor that, “This is about allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.”  A concealed carry law allows citizens the opportunity to defend themselves in life-threatening situations.  After all, let’s face it, the old adage that there is never a cop around when you need one, does sometimes manifest itself.

What to Expect

This week’s radio commentary:

Wisconsin Family Connection –
Week of May 9, 2011, – #887 – “What to Expect”

We’ve have definitely had our share of uncertain and highly unusual times here in Wisconsin of late. I wish I could say that things will clear up soon and we’ll be back to some semblance of normal in politics and government. Unfortunately, I can’t promise you that.

The current administration and legislative majority were elected in November last year on a wave of dissatisfaction with government. Voters expected their newly elected officials to work hard to create a better business and jobs atmosphere in Wisconsin, to be accountable and honest, to uphold and protect their liberties.

None of us expected to be facing a bevy of recall elections, a statewide Supreme Court election recount, massive protests at the Capitol, 14 Senators leaving the state for 3 weeks, and an extremely tense political landscape.

Here’s a sampling of what’s going on right now in your Capital City and across the state. The State Assembly is set to go back on the floor again this week and it’s likely the State Senate will as well. The Assembly will vote on several bills related to the Department of Natural Resources and several others that expand and extend the Milwaukee Parental School Choice Program.

The Assembly could also take up the Voter ID bill. The Senate passed Voter ID several months ago while the Senate Democrats were living in self-imposed exile in Illinois.  However, the Republicans could not take the final vote on the bill because it had a fiscal impact and they needed that 20-member quorum to vote on it.

The Voter ID bill would require citizens to present a valid photo ID to vote and also makes some changes to absentee voting and military and overseas voting. During the Assembly Committee public hearing on the bill last month, college students turned out to testify against the original bill’s prohibition against the use of college ID’s for voting. The newest version of the bill allows college ID’s, within certain parameters—such as they must include an address of residence and a photograph.

Concealed carry is another high-profile item on the agenda right now. Legislators have introduced two types of bills. One is a “constitutional carry”—which means it does not place restrictions on concealed carry or require a permit or training to conceal. The other bill is what is known as a “shall issue” or permit concealed carry—which means that gun owners can apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Forty-eight states have some version of concealed-carry. Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two that don’t. A handful of states have a “constitutional carry” law and the rest have some sort or permit and/or training requirement.  The majority party—the Republicans—are having some serious disagreement among their own members as to which bill is better.  Now the bills’ authors are asking for public input on the two proposals.

The next few weeks will tell us the true character of the Republican majority at the State Capitol. Can the Republican caucus iron through differences between the large, vocal, freshman caucus and the battle-weary establishment?

As an organization, we’re very much interested in the answer to that question. There are a number of issues that the people of Wisconsin expect our legislators to address: everything from Voter ID to pro-life, pro-family issues, including the repeal of the Healthy Youth Act. Now is the time for action, for courageous and difficult decisions.

We knew going into it that this was going to be a tough legislative session. Everyone agrees we need to cut spending but no one wants their program cut. Last session, the Democrats passed a number of anti-life, anti-family policies that need to be addressed. However, once a law is in place, it’s extremely difficult to repeal.

Frankly, we need new ideas, creative alternatives and residents across the state who are ready and willing to take back local control on a number of issues we’ve ceded to the state government.

So, what can you do? Pray! Pray for godly wisdom and courage for elected officials. And then put actions to your prayers. Keep holding your elected officials accountable.  Stay in contact with them. Let them know your opinions on the issues. Call the legislative hotline at 800-362-9472 or our offices at 888-378-7395 to find out who represents you. Keep updated on the issues that are important you and be ready to come to Madison to testify. Get involved with the elections at your local level if you’re facing a Senate recall election.

I can’t tell you what to expect, but I can tell you this: unless we all stay informed and involved, we won’t like the outcome.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

Download/listen to the MP3 file.