Wisconsin was one of the last states to create a permit system for legal concealed carry of weapons in the last few years. CCW permits were first issued there in November, 2011. Five years later, 319,069 cheddarheads are good to stow.
To obtain a permit, an applicant had to be 21 years old or older, a legal Wisconsin resident, and not convicted of any felonies or misdemeanor acts of domestic violence. People who go to all the trouble to obtain a permit are serious about their Second Amendment rights. In Wisconsin, probably half are Democrats and Independents. CCW permit holders are, as a group, some of the most law-abiding people in America.
My experience as a concealed carry instructor has showed me how ultra responsible these people are. They show up early. They offer to help out. They offer to clean up. I never had a problem with bad checks, in fifteen years.
My experience is that most aren’t NRA members. Most aren’t hunters, either. Most, though, are gun owners. A significant number are veterans or have experience with law enforcement. They tend to be older, experienced, people. About 20 percent are women.
These people are voters, and they vote. This is just my impression, but I believe they vote in very large numbers, probably in excess of 80 percent.
The 2016 general election turnout in Wisconsin was down a bit from 2012. There were 3.068 million votes cast for presidential candidates in 2012. The 2016 number was 2.944 million votes, down about four percent.
The difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin was 27,257 votes. That number is less than nine percent of the concealed carry permit holders in the state.
In 2016, Donald Trump actively courted Second Amendment supporters and concealed carry permit holders. He bragged about having a concealed carry permit himself. He promised that a priority of his administration would be to pass a national concealed carry reciprocity bill, something desired by the vast majority of CCW permit holders.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton made “common sense” gun control a major plank in her platform. That euphemism might have gotten a pass from a majority of people who don’t own guns, but it didn’t get one from informed gun owners, which, includes, almost by definition, people who have a concealed carry permit.
Support for the Second Amendment wasn’t a pivotal issue in the 2012 election. Neither candidate made gun rights a major focus of their campaigns. Most Second Amendment supporters weren’t enthusiastic about Mitt Romney. President Obama didn’t push for more gun control with any enthusiasm…until after the election.
Wisconsin only had one year of its shall issue concealed carry program in effect by election night, 2012. By election night 2016, it had over 319,000 concealed carry permit holders.
So it’s reasonable to assume that permit holders made a difference in 2016. Was it enough to swing the election? It’s impossible to know for sure. But when Democrats explicitly endorse gun control, they lose, and they lose bigly.
Donald Trump pulled off the biggest upset of presidential politics since Truman. Part of his campaign was to actively pursue Second Amendment supporters. And they responded in kind.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.