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