Patti Wenzel

Does Wisconsin need Constitutional Carry?

By - May 25th, 2011 04:00 am

Wisconsin and Illinois are the only states that make the concealed carry of a weapon illegal. But that will soon change in the Badger State.

A Republican-controlled Assembly committee passed its version of concealed carry last week (after a May 12 public hearing held in Wausau) and the Senate is ready with its own version. If they pass the both full chambers, Gov. Scott Walker has promised to sign it into law.

Current Wisconsin law forbids anyone from carrying a concealed weapon, ever. The law does provide exceptions for police officers and business owners who can prove their need for the weapon outweighs the state’s interest to restrict it. Concealed weapons are also banned from public buildings, taverns, state parks, wildlife refuges and within 1,000 feet of a school.

The Republican majority and Walker agree that Wisconsinites should be able to carry a concealed weapon. They say it will make us all safer, especially since the criminals won’t know who’s packing.

“It’s time for Wisconsin to fully recognize the right of all its citizens to preserve their security and the security of their families,” said Rep. Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz), the author of the Assembly version of the bill. “Criminals in Wisconsin are going to have to start asking themselves if their potential crimes are worth the risk encountering someone ready to fully defend themselves.”

Versions of concealed carry have been passed twice before, in 2004 and 2006, but they were vetoed by then-Gov. Jim Doyle.

This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss their own bill, SB 93. Working off a version authored by freshman Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), it takes some of the points agreed to in the Assembly and melds them into something beyond simple concealed carry – constitutional carry.

Concealed carry is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to carry a hidden weapon – gun, knife (no switchblades), electric weapons and billy clubs. The Assembly bill allows for people to “go armed” in their homes, businesses or on their land. It would require citizens to be 21 years of age, a resident of the state and not have any legal reasons or mental illness issues that would bar them from owning a gun or obtaining a permit.

The legislation requires a background check , and considers a concealed carry license issued by another state valid in Wisconsin. It would also require state law enforcement agencies to issue or renew certification cards for retired police or federal officers living in the state, allowing them to also conceal carry.

Photo courtesy another_finn via Flickr

But it is the permit question for citizens that is splitting the typically solid Republican caucus. The Senate version keeps most of the Assembly provisions but drops one – the required permit.

A new movement among the concealed carry lobby is the idea of “constitutional carry.”  This type of carry blends the tenets of the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Followers argue that we have the freedom of religion and assembly, which allow us to gather together and worship or associate with whom we want without any government intrusion or permit. They hold that the right to bear arms in the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, and there should be no restriction on carrying a weapon.

According to Richard Church, a contributor to, concealed carry is a natural right, given by God.

“The only legitimate function of government is to recognize and protect the rights of those under its jurisdiction,” Church writes. “See the Declaration of Independence. Any requirement to obtain a permit to exercise a right is, at least, an infringement of that right and, at worst, an outright denial of it.”

Additionally, the Wisconsin State Constitution, Article 1, Section 25 allows for the open carry of weapons. This was approved in 1997 on a statewide referendum, garnering 79 percent of the vote. Concealed carry advocates say open carry reduces the security that a hidden weapon provides.

The senate would also eliminate gun training requirements, but allow a special permit to conceal carry within a 1,000-foot school zone (but not on school grounds), and carry in other states under a reciprocity agreement. If the bill passes, the only criteria for constitutional carry is being 21 and having no legal or mental barrier to owning a gun.

Vermont, Alaska and Arizona are the only states that currently allow constitutional carry.

Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau)

Galloway says the Senate Bill 93 is the best of both worlds.

“We’ve really got the ideal bill for the state of Wisconsin.”

But not everyone is thrilled with the idea of citizens wearing a shoulder holster under their jackets.

Jim Palmer, head of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, calls constitutional carry “absurd” and says that his membership is opposed to it.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn opposes constitutional carry outright as well as concealed carry — unless the legislature puts some teeth in it.  He has suggested that the law include felony penalties if someone is carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and for someone who conducts a “straw buy,” purchasing a gun for someone who isn’t legally allowed to own one.

“The bills as currently drafted put the lives of my officers at risk. They have to presume that when they approach someone on the street they’re lawfully carrying.”

Sen. John Erpenbach (D-Middleton) said most people would still go out and obtain gun training, but he worries about those who don’t.

“Where’s the safety for everybody else here?” he asked.

The Legislative Accountability Board has released a poll noting various communities and organizations position on SB 90. The results would probably be similar with SB 93 and AB 126. No surprises, the legislation is supported by the National Rifle Association;  Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators; the Safari Club and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association.

Opposition is coming from the the Wisconsin School Social Workers Association, Wisconsin Public Health Association, Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, Inc. and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, among others.

31 thoughts on “Does Wisconsin need Constitutional Carry?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Assembly Committee has NOT yet voted on any version of concealed carry. It only had a public hearing. No action of ANY KIND was taken last week.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No we don’t need concealed carry in any form. But I’m reconciled to the fact that the Republican majority will get what they want.
    I’ve never been robbed at gun point and I don’t expect I ever will be. What I now have to worry about is that every public gathering that I attend somebody will be carrying a gun. Will they be responsable with their right to carry? I don’t know.
    Considering the best case and nothing bad happens because of this new law, what is being gained?
    We are serving the imaginations of people who believe that somehow they are safer with a gun on their person.
    My imagination runs in the other direction. Does that altercation in a bar or on the city bus elevate in someone innocent getting hurt or killed.
    What are my rights as a non-gun person? Do I have the right to ask peoole who are guests in my home to disarm before entering? What about my work-place? What about Summerfest, Miller Park or Lambeau Field. And if guns are not permitted in these places, how are we going to know that it’s being enforced? Are we going to be searched, screened or patted down? Or do I have to worry about the first time in my life I’m looking at the wrong end of gun occurs in a place where I’ve come to be entertained?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Whenever you say that a particular right is given “by God” then you naturally should be discredited for being ignorant and idiotic. But of course, those who can’t come up with better arguments often say that it’s “God’s will”, and disregarding the fact that such claims violated the Third Commandment about not using God’s name in vain. But then again, I didn’t read in the bible that Jesus was going to ride into this world on a Raptor holding a sawoff shotgun and packing heat like a MF.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Burglars rob houses when nobody’s home, and armed muggers don’t wait for victims to draw. In both cases, guns are valuable loot. I’ve been held up; the guy came out of nowhere with a gun drawn. If I’d had a concealed weapon, he would have stolen it. If I had been stupid enough to reach for it, I would be dead – and my gun would have gone into the criminal pipeline. Whatever the law, if you think arming yourself will make you safe, think again. Statistically, a gun owner is far more apt to shoot him/herself than a bad guy – and even if you become one of those rare exceptions, if it isn’t a “clean shoot,” you’ll acquire a criminal record of your very own.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Any requirement to obtain a permit to exercise a right is, at least, an infringement of that right and, at worst, an outright denial of it.”

    Absolutely! I’m right behind you! In fact I’d even vote for it, if Wisconsin 2.0






  6. Anonymous says:

    Sue Chang writes in MarketWatch:

    A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in the January shooting spree that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was mentally incompetent to stand trial, according to media reports. The ruling by Judge Larry Burns means Loughner will be sent to a federal facility for up to four months for rehabilitation to a point where he is able to understand the charges against him, the reports said. Loughner was ordered removed from the courtroom following an outburst during which he shouted, “She died in front of me,” and “Thank you for the freak show,” the Baltimore Sun reported on its website.


  7. Anonymous says:

    In the first place, there is nothing Constitutional about it. The amendment is being flagrantly misrepresented, and has been, particularly by the NRA, for years.

    At the very least, anyone wanting to carry a firearm should be checked out, trained, and licensed, preferably every year.

    WHY in the world are the Republicans so wild about this?

  8. Anonymous says:

    anything you do in life takes a risk,yes,most roberis happen fast.but most people who rape,rob do not like witneses to there crimes.a weapon is a tool and how the tool is used depends on the user.when to,and at what given moment.police are trained and payed to do what these people aplyed for.citizens do not have the police force to come to there aide during a robbery or serious crime.the most time a person in milwaukee waits for police to arrive uaualy about,oh between 3 to 6 hours.i am sure an unarmed citizen could stay alive that long for help to arrive.all the training in the world wouldnt cover every componet of a crime being commited on a citizen,it only prepares you on how to act.if you want to carry,then do.if not,then dont.conceal takes the fear away from those who dont want to,and puts the fear into the criminals who carry illegaly.48 othere states cant be wrong,right?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am a certified law enforcement firearms who also teaches civilians concealed carry. I am going to remain neutral on the subject of needing concealed carry in society. I do know of many cases where concealed carry by law abiding citizens has saved women from rape, serious bodily injury and death. I am perplexed as to why women are usually the ones against this? I am sure even the most liberal woman would pick up a handgun and defend her child from a 250 LB male kidnapper. I think people, especially women should have the choice to defend themselves. Most liberals are pro-choice, yet anti-gun… thus denying the women they defend the right to protect themselves against violent predators.
    I can see Jeff Jordan’s point, but I think he assumes that Wisconsin will somehow be different from the states that allow concealed carry. I can professionally say none of his fears have materialized in the states that allowed carry. In fact Vermont has had “constitutional carry”, and has for decades. There are NO shootouts over parking spots, no one going nuts in public with a gun, in fact Vermont had the lowest crime rate in the nation until 2000 Somalis were relocated there and the rape wave started. Then the liberals ran an advertisement in the South Bronx that free welfare was available in Burlington, and guess what happened to the crime rate! Thank goodness people can CHOOSE to carry in Vermont. Florida is another example…. When “shall issue” began in 1988 the rape rate went WAY down. And also guess what… Permit holders have the lowest rate of criminal activity of any group. Do you know why? Because you need to be a law abiding citizen to get a permit. In fact comparing police to permit holders, statistically police commit more assaults than permit holders! SCARY huh?
    Yes, a lot of innocent people are killed by guns. But please show me the facts where Milwaukee has no gun violence since there is no carry allowed at present….. BTW I am not conservative, Republican, or even a member of the NRA. I am Independent and vote 3rd party. I have been married 32 years and I am glad my wife can carry when coming home late in my home state of Florida! I think we should pay more attention to who can own a gun and how they are transferred, than worrying about allowing TRAINED law abiding citizens with no criminal history to carry. Personally I know trained civilian carriers that I trust with a gun more than some sworn policeman I have trained!

  10. Anonymous says:

    You seriously need to research concealed carry more. Your very uninformed. Of course private places can have no-gun policies. I expect many will.

    You realize that under current law a person taking a walk in the woods in Rhinelander could get a felony gun charge because the gun they had on them to protect themselves from a bear wasn’t exposed enough. Now your not likely to get caught for that. But should I have to break the law to assure my safety?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know why they even bothered talking to Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn. That guy would have us all disarmed completely if he had his way. This is the same police chief that instructed his police to violently take down anyone even carrying a gun legally (open carry) and then ask questions later.

    The simple fact of the matter is that open carry, our only option currently, alarms people as it looks aggressive. If folks can carry concealed, no one really thinks much of it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not buying it. You are a sheep, you deserved to be fleeced.
    That guy with the gun that robbed you. He didn’t just come out of no where. You obviously had no situational awareness of your surroundings at the time you got mugged. No doubt you were texting, or listening to your Ipod. You know doing everything else except paying attention. You are right. You shouldn’t be allowed to conceal/carry a firearm on your person. However, I do not think like you, and you do not think like me, you also do not think like the other Wisconsin citizens that do desire to carry. So don’t tread on us, and our rights, ok. Thanks. Oh by the way, could you imagine how terrible it would be if there was a law restricting the carry of you Ipod in public? It would be a law for your own good, and safety. People are robbed all the time while listening to their Ipods. Some times they are robbed for there Ipod. People have traffic accidents, while using Ipods, and pedestrians get hit by cars because they were distracted or didn’t hear the car there while listening to their Ipod. If Wisconsin Banned the carry of the Ipod, every liberal arts person in the state would be loosing their minds, and rallying at the capital. Funny how one persons rights are stupid, while another persons right are so important. It must be nice to be up upon such a high pedestal as to tell others what would happen to them if they were violently assaulted. Should we call you god? I suppose next you would tell me that God doesn’t exist either? Not buying it, I hope your future plan to rely on the mercy of your attacker works out for you and your loved ones. Next time you post, try using your real name you coward. Thanks, John Wisch

  13. Anonymous says:

    Howard, thanks for using your name. That’s cool of you.
    I didn’t see anyone here stating that GOD gave them the right to Carry Concealed? I don’t see your point. Next Jesus would have a Sawed off Shotgun, not a SAWOFF, and if he was packing heat, it wouldnt be like a MF, I hear his mom was a virgin at the time of his birth, so I don’t believe he would have fornicated with her. Do you?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Your first statement is Flawed, the 2nd Amendment goes way beyond what most people think. You need to read the debate history to appreciate the reasons of our Founding Fathers who put it together. The 2nd Amendment is placed there as a guarantee that the rest of the Constitution would be able to Stand the Test of Time.

    I do agree with you whole heartedly that a through Back Ground Check, and In-depth Training, as well as Annual Continued Education Credit Classes, and Proficiency Range Qualification should exist.

    Lastly, it isn’t just Republicans, It is Libertarians, and Conservative Democrats too. Oh yeah, don’t leave out the Tea Party Folks. We have a defensive mindset. All of us, that want it. The Police are great, but they respond to crime, they dont stop or prevent it. They pretty much come afterward and write up a report after the carnage. We feel that we wish to have the ability to protect ourselves at the time of an attack or crime. By the way, for 8 years plus under Gov. Doyle a Democrat Demigod, vetoed, vetoed, and vetoed again the good concealed carry bills that came thru the House. So there has been much waiting, and passion has built up State Wide. That is why it seems like such a big deal. By the way Canada, England, Australia, and Japan have seriously strict gun laws, so dose Mexico. Maybe a change of Country might fix your view on the subject?
    Maybe you would consider

  15. Anonymous says:

    I may not be an expert on gun laws, but I know that in the extreme case of walking through bear invested woods you are permitted to cary a gun under open carry legislation.
    The research I’ve done includes discovery of a “Constitutional Carry” version which allows carrying a concealed weapon any place you want. The legislation doesn’t assure that anyone with a gun has a permit to do so nor the training to use it. It does not specify that anyone has the right to restrict anyone from carrying guns anywhere they want.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well first off it is one those alienable rights given to us by God! Second the people of Wisconsin act as though we are treading on hollowed ground. They act as if Conceal Carry is something never heard of. Well there are 48 States with current legislation in the books and three of those States with Constitutional Carry. So those of you who are against this should do some reasearch!! Vermont who has been Constitutional carry for decades has no real crazys running around having shootouts in the parking lot, the bus, the malls ect. Come on people lets get real!!! Its a fact that those who are either permitted or constitutionally carry are very responsible citizens. Bottom line there will still be all those crazy people running around packing firearms with NO regard to the law. So once again lets punish the law abiding responsible citizen for being allowed to excersise his second amendment right!! Yes it is a right and my rights should not be infringed upon period!!
    I’ve heard comparisons to getting your drivers license. Well first of all getting your driving license is a Privalege not a RIGHT!! Huge difference!! Responsible gun owners I feel will take it upon themselves to attend some training without being told or required by a permit. This is just liberalism at its best!! Big Brother knows whats best for us right?

  17. Anonymous says:

    What I find funny is all the talk about Training Training Training!! Yet we currently have open carry on the books affored to us by Our State Constitution. Yet I hear know one mentioning that. I can slap a holster on my hip slide my side arm into it and go for a walk. Yet there is no requirement for training or permitting for OPEN CARRY? Hmmmmmmmmm seems like a double standard here! Yet open carry has a strange affect on people when they see an individual grocery shopping with a firearm resting on their hip.
    All this talk about putting restrictions, training, testing, registration is just another form of Government Control. This Right was given to us to protect us from a Tyrannical Government as quoted by Ben Franklin. Those of you so against conceal carry or firearms in general my response is Dont Buy A Gun, Dont Carry Then, but dont fringe on my right just because you dont agree

  18. Anonymous says:


    You should have a right as a property owner to ask people to disarm, that’s your right as a property owner. Same would go for other businesses that wish to not allow guns on their premises. The property owners have the say. You mention that you are uncertain that all those who would now be allowed to carry would be responsible. I would imagine so. Current laws that have prohibited the carry of firearms has only benefited the lawless who don’t care about conceal carry laws, they’ll simply carry anyway. What you are inferring is that you’ll be less safe because there are more people carrying. I think that’s understandable, but the people who are more likely to use firearms for unlawful purposes are those who probably had no regard for gun control laws to begin with and were always carrying.

  19. Anonymous says:

    nothing is forsure,however,making the criminal think twice may give you a small window of opertunity to defend.and as for your gun being hijacked during a robery,he already has a gun.but hay,you could be right.

  20. Anonymous says:

    home owners do have a right not to let a person onto there property with a weapon,but what about public property?

  21. Anonymous says:

    perferably evry year.hmmm,that should also go for driving,hunting,motor biking,sow mobiling,bow hunting,target shooting,where do you stop on this issue? skeet shooting,boating,as you see what i have mentioned is also a privlage and not a right.should what i have mention be in the same catigoury?training for these privlages every year?

  22. Anonymous says:

    the devil made him do it.he hates woman.lets take this out on everyone who wants to carry for protection.are you saying that one person who dose a crime,everyone has commited the same offence?what are you refering to on carry laws.

  23. Anonymous says:

    congrats,you have the unlimited right to carry a weapon on you card blanc.however the average person who didnt make the cut into law enforcement dosnt have that right.we have to do it the hard way.and it isnt just woman,we also have people who cant run the know,the disable americans.i thoght conceal carry was for those who can and not just for the selct few.

  24. Anonymous says:

    @ Sue; if you were educated you would know it is not a free pass he stands trial once he is mentally competent. Who is mentally incompetent?

  25. Anonymous says:

    “Whatever the law, if you think arming yourself will make you safe, think again. Statistically, a gun owner is far more apt to shoot him/herself than a bad guy – and even if you become one of those rare exceptions, if it isn’t a “clean shoot,” you’ll acquire a criminal record of your very own.”
    Oh what a load of Brady crap!
    There are THOUSANDS of successful armed self defense cases on the web.
    Your hypothetical nonsense is irrelevant.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Well its certainly been voted on and headed to the gov for signing now.
    Once it becomes law then the good guys will have at least a chance.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “I’ve never been robbed at gun point and I don’t expect I ever will be.”
    Thats the same line everyone who is raped, robbed or murdered said at some point prior to it happening.
    Hell, my mother has been assaulted. Knocked down and robbed right in front of a big store in broad daylight in a very low crime neighborhood….and the woman is STILL as oblivious as your comment above would indicate.
    My guess is that you dont wear seat belts, have car or home insurance or a smoke detector because you ‘dont expect’ you’ll ever be in an accident or have a fire in your home.
    You go right ahead and continue in your delusion…but the crime stats PROVE that crime happens. Its just a matter of WHO is unlucky enough to be the victim.

    Crime statistics PROVE our case for us, Im afraid.
    If there were ZERO crime, then maybe Brady nuts would have an argument.
    But then, if there WERE no crime then there would be no reason for y’all to be so concerned about us carrying guns.
    And there are always biting dogs to worry about…so I will always carry a gun for those nasty pit bulls running amok.
    Oh wait….thats all in my imagination too, right?

  28. Anonymous says:

    “Whenever you say that a particular right is given “by God” then you naturally should be discredited for being ignorant and idiotic.”
    yeah….those men who wrote the Declaration of Independence were all worthless nuts…
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that >>>>>>they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights<<<<<<<, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

    Frankly if you live in the USA and dont like the statement above maybe you should leave. There are exits at every border.
    If you dont like our country then we dont want you here.

  29. Anonymous says:

    For the Brady Bunch types who say that a gun doesnt help;

  30. Anonymous says:

    wisconsin finaly has the right to carry a weapon for self defense.conceal was made because open made people more worrisum.howevere,the criminals will have to be extra careful, they wont know who is and how many are at any given time carrying.on a lighter note,we can protect our selves,doyle,you lose!

  31. Anonymous says:

    private property is up to the owner.public is up to the voters.tell you what,if you can figure out who is actualy carrying a weapon,criminals included,please get a photo of them and put it on you tube.and i do not mean from people you know,compleat strangers only!

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