It’s a truism that if a politician’s lips are moving s/he’s lying. And truisms are only truisms because they’re usually, you know, true. So what to make of Bill Kramer’s claim to the AP, as reported by chicagotribune.com, that he carries a concealed Glock 26 on the Wisconsin Assembly floor from time to time? Just going on gut feel, this is probably one of those rare instances of something true passing the lips of an elected official. Not smart, mind you, but true. . .
Kramer’s the Speaker Pro Tem of the Assembly. And as a Republican, he’s one of those targeted for harassment by Badger Staters who aren’t happy with a number of new laws Governor Scott Walker and his legislative friends have enacted.
He said he feels he needs the weapon given the toxic atmosphere at the state Capitol, and he’s not the only lawmaker packing in the chamber.
“Have you been in the Capitol lately?” Kramer said. “The saying is you don’t need a gun until you need it. I hope I go to my grave having never fired at anything but a paper target.”
According to Kramer, he received concealed carry permit #16,657, for which we offer our hearty congrats. Under legislative rules enacted along with the state’s new law, it’s legal for both Assemblymen and Senators to carry on their respective floors. The Assembly allows those in the gallery to pack as well, while the Senate has disappointingly seen fit to disarm its observers. And things have been, well, interesting in the Capitol recently.
One (protestor) threw a beer on state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, co-chairman of the Legislature’s powerful finance committee, in a Madison bar in September. Last week, protesters heckled Walker from the Assembly’s overhead galleries as the governor delivered his state-of-the-state address in the chamber. The next night during debate on a divisive mining permit bill, Kramer ordered the galleries cleared after agitators hung a banner over a railing and hurled profanities at lawmakers.
But Speaker Kramer seems to need some time to get used to this whole concealed carry thing. For instance, he’ll do well to learn that one of the more important aspects of a carry permit is that modifier, ‘concealed’. As in, why the hell would he tell someone – especially a reporter – that he’s carrying? Never mind ratting out others (thankfully, not by name) who may be packing, too.
Then again, it would be helpful to remember who and what Speaker Kramer is. Given his occupation, it’s probably too much to hope that he’d learn to STFU about his heat-packing practices. Or anything else, for that matter.