Constitutional Carry on the Move in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin legislature is moving forward with Constitutional Carry in bill AB 247. In 1998, the people of Wisconsin voted for Constitutional Carry in a state referendum amending the state constitution. The amendment, which created Article I, Section 25, is very clear. It received 74 percent of the vote. From Article I Section 25:

 The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.

AB 247 is a comprehensive bill that puts Section 25 into practical law in Wisconsin.

There are currently 13 Constitutional Carry states. (Some analysts differ on how many states there are, because the state laws differ. The vast majority of people in the following states can carry concealed or openly, without a permit from the government.) Permitless carry is legal in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and West Virginia.

Wisconsin was the 49th state to pass a concealed carry permit law. Open carry has always been legal in the state. The Wisconsin legislators studied the law in other states and then wrote their law. When the permit law was finally passed, it was one of the best in the nation. As a result, there are now over 320,000 permit holders in Wisconsin. They have been shown to be exceptionally law abiding.

The Constitutional Carry bill, AB 247 shows the same kind of care. The law is comprehensive, and corrects many defects in current Wisconsin statutes. From  wisconsin.gov:

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

Current law generally prohibits an individual from carrying a concealed weapon unless the individual has a license to carry a concealed weapon that is issued by the Department of Justice or unless the individual has a law enforcement identification card indicating that he or she is a qualified current or former law enforcement officer. This bill eliminates the general prohibition against going armed with a concealed weapon without regard to licensure status

This bill also eliminates current law prohibitions against carrying firearms in specified places, but retains the current law that allows certain  persons to post buildings and grounds so that individuals who carry a firearm in violation of the posting commit trespass. For instance, this bill eliminates the prohibition on carrying a firearm on school grounds and, for persons without a license to carry a concealed weapon, in a school zone.

Instead, this bill allows schools to post their buildings and grounds under the trespassing laws. An individual who violates the trespassing provision is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor if the individual is in a posted school building and a Class B forfeiture if the individual is on the posted grounds of a school.

Other provisions in the bill:

– Eliminates prohibitions on carry in public buildings generally, but allows posting under the trespass law for certain sensitive government buildings such as police stations, prisons, and secure mental health facilities.

– Eliminates prohibitions on carrying a gun or crossbow in a wildlife refuge

– Eliminates prohibitions on carry on an all terrain vehicle

– Eliminates prohibition on possession of a bow, crossbow, or firearm while shining a light on wildlife. (this has primarily been used against people viewing wildlife at night in car headlights. Hunting with lights is still prohibited.)

– Follows federal law by allowing people with carry permits and/or law enforcement ID cards to be exempt in school zones.

– Modifies the Wisconsin permit process by allowing non-residents to obtain a Wisconsin permit.

– Requires the granting of a permit if training has not been completed, but the applicant meets all other requirements, as a “basic” license.

– Provides for the creation of a state permit that meets federal standards, if a federal standard is imposed.

– Eliminates the prohibition on the possession of electric weapons, such as Tasers.

– Changes the state definition of “firearm” to be congruent with the federal definition that excludes muzzle loaders and antique and replica firearms.

The bill has significant support in the Assembly and the Senate. There are 40 co-sponsors in the Assembly, and 11 co-sponsors in the Senate. There are 99 voting members of the Assembly. 64 are Republican. There are 33 voting members in the Senate. 20 are Republican.

Two sources on the scene have communicated to me that Governor Walker will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The Senate Committee on Public Safety is holding a hearing on the bill on 31 May, 2017.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Badgerman says:

    I have a feeling it will pass. Once it does it will a great relief when I am able to drop my kids off at school and not risk a felony.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I must be missing something. If 74% of voters voted in *1998* (almost 20 years ago!) for that amendment to the constitution, how the hell is such a law passed by the legislature necessary in any way? WTF have they been enforcing ever since?

      1. There were enough leftists on the court that they simply ignored the plain language of Section 25, and said that it did not really mean anything. I recall one argument, I believe by a jurist, cited by one of the justices, that cited a poll that said most citizens wanted concealed carry illegal, so the people who voted could not have really meant what the language said.

        So people started taking the next step, replacing leftist justices with conservative ones. Now we have a strong majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court in Wisconsin.

        The three remaining justices, in the dissent over the Madison Bus case, said, we can see the way this is going, implying that the conservative justices were going to enforce Section 25.

    2. avatar sound awake says:

      having to unload it and case it and then uncase it and load it is a serious impediment to carrying with one in the chamber for sure

  2. avatar DDay says:

    NICE.

    Scott Walker has been a VERY effective governor in Wisconsin. He and the GOP there have done a great great job.

  3. avatar Jolly Roger Out says:

    Here’s hoping so. I would just love to see the rending of garments that will take place in Madison.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “… rending of garments …”

      I think “heads explode” (in the mental-anguish sense) would also be appropriate!

  4. avatar Charles Ray says:

    For the umpteenth time, Arkansas has only permitless open carry, not constitutional.

    1. Where, in Arkansas law, is it illegal to carry a concealed weapon with no intent to use it unlawfully? Have you a case where a person has been prosecuted for carrying concealed, without a permit, who was legally able to open carry in the same place?

      Here is AR Code § 5-73-120 (2015)

      (a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

      If the law has changed to make carrying a weapon concealed illegal, I would like to know about it.

  5. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’m looking at land in WI. The Mrs. and I can’t agree on anything. I’m looking forward to moving.

  6. avatar MikeB in WI says:

    Dean , I was at the senate hearing on the companion bill last Wednesday and Senator Wannggard said that the latest numbers for concealed carry permits in Wisconsin was over 500,000. That is roughly 10% of the population of the state.

    1. I read the 500,000 figure. It may be the sum of all permits that were ever issued, or it may be a simple mistake. I have a contact at the DOJ who gave me the 320,000 figure in January. I would expect another 20,000 by now…

      I expect 500,000 in Wisconsin, but I think it will take a few more years.

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