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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.

Gun Watch

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    • and there it is, predictable.
      for all of my accomplishments, it was that one cock i sucked that i seem to be referenced for most often.
      do you advocate for nra membership desertion? do you think that if the nra received no support that america’s gun rights would be better?
      you may. show us the way then, genius.

  1. Well yeah guns won. I see Jill “crazy azz” Stein ponied up the $ to contest the election results(including Wisconsin). I guess she wants a civil war…Happy Thanksgiving!

    • She’s getting some pushback from her own peeps on that recount.

      (And a ‘Happy Bird’ to you and yours as well, FWW…)

  2. The wife and I are both Wisconsin CCW permit holders and carry every day. Everywhere. (Sorry snowflakes, it’s called ‘concealed’ for a reason.)(And no, I will not save your a$$ when SHTF in a Target Rich Zone. I WILL make every effort to save my family and myself, though. Not a mall ninja, just an OFWG. Deal with it.)

    We voted in the 2016 election knowing exactly what was at stake regarding our 2nd Amendment rights. While I may not agree on every point of President-elect Trump’s platform, I’m hoping that the SCOTUS will be loaded in our favor for at least a generation to come.

    I’m an NRA member, but I didn’t need them to ‘tell’ me how to vote.Too much was at stake. Not sure whether CCW permit holders actually made the difference or not. All that I know, did, however, vote on the winning side.

  3. With a victory margin of less than 1%, anything could have made the difference. With votes cast down by some 124K, you’re more apt to find the answer to the win in who didn’t even show up to vote, than you are in any micromargins.

    • Trump carried Wisconsin because black voters in Milwaukee did not show up to vote. If gun owners made a difference it was in the Senate race. Johnson was not favored but won going away. Feingold made gun control an issue and it cost him the election.

    • This. I mean, I appreciate TTAG wanting every election to be decided by gun owners or CCWs or whatever, but no. There were a large number of factors that finally put the stake through the Clinton heart. High conservative turnout from every angle and depressed liberal turnout, combined with marginal liberal defection to Trump is what won Wisconsin.

      Sure, CCWs were a factor, but THE factor? No.

  4. Every single gun owner and or 2nd Amendment supporter should be an NRA member. Even if you don’t agree with them all the time you should still be a member. There is power in numbers and it’s membership is a visible number that politicians can see. People should also contribute to local organizations that can do more with local issues.

    • I agree with you. Every one of us PotG SHOULD be a member of every national gun organization he can stomach; and, every local organization he can stomach. But let’s be realistic. Most of us don’t have the money to do so. And, most of us just can’t stomach every organization. I can’t stomach NAGR; so, I am not a member.
      There is strength in numbers. The numbers need not be concentrated in just one organization. Likely NRA and NAGR don’t have a lot of membership overlap. So, when we PotG (kindly) add the memberships of these 2 organizations for the convenience of the Democrat party we are doing them a big favor. We just have to remind them of the origin of the term “one-issue voter”.
      There is also strength in diversity – of opinion, not of color, ethnicity, etc. The NRA was late to the Heller party; in retrospect, that was a mistake on their part. It is not clear – at the time – that Heller would be a winner. They were wrong, but this is Monday-morning quarterbacking. NRA told Regan to sign FOPA with the Hughes Amendment. At the time, NRA was a membership organization made up of hunters and marksmen, not so much 2A advocates.
      If we 2A advocates want influence we have just 3 alternatives:
      1. join and influence the organization that already has the greatest footprint;
      2. join and influence the organization that is most closely aligned to our own sentiments; or,
      3. 1+2
      Either we hang together or we most assuredly will be hanged separately.

  5. There are several million NRA members in this country and millions of gun owners that are not members of the NRA who care about their 2nd amendment rights. All these people are not uniformly Republicans, many are Libertarians and Democrats. If Hillary, and Democrat politicians in general, had not made gun control an issue in the campaign, there are many gun owners who would not have cared much about the results. By taking a position, contrary to Bill Clinton’s advice after his AWB fiasco, she made sure that these gun owners would care much more deeply about this election and vote for the man who sought NRA’s endorsement, even if they did not necessarily agree with him on other issues. Gun control definitely hurt the Democrats, but in their totalitarian hubris they are not going to see it; they will be certain that they simply did not sell their position well enough.

  6. The Dems made gun control a central part of their platform in the presidential and senate races. This was their down fall. You have a very large outlying area of gun owning individuals in WI, with Madison and Milwaukee being Dem strongholds. The rest of the state is largely Rep and owns firearms, so of course they will come out and vote.

    As a WI resident, I seen alot of people that came out to vote because they simply hated HRC, and what she stands for, CC permit holder or not. HRC poked the sleeping bear, and she paid the price for it, nationwide. You dont threaten to take the toys from America’s gun owners and not pay the price.

  7. Wisconsin went red for the same reason the rest of the country did: Dems were so sure of a victory that they did not bother to go vote. Overconfidence resulted in low Dem turnout while Republicans were motivated to turn out

  8. I really wanted to read this article, but it kept dancing around like a fly against the window as advertisement after advertisement showed up, so I just waited for the nonsense to stop and explain why you don’t get more views. Best of luck. I hope it was a good article.

  9. Trump was the first cannidate to make supporting the second amendment part of every speech he made. I have never seen a cannidate so in your face about gun rights.

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