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Wisconsin reached over 300,000 active concealed carry weapon permits in 2016. The number of permits issued reached 300,000 by the end of March, but the number of active permits is a bit behind the number of permits issued. I obtained information on the number of active permits from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. As of 1 January, 2016, there were 276,011 active permits. Six months later, as of 1 July, 2016, the number of active permits was at 305,463.

92.5% of all applications received in the first six months were approved for new permits. Some of the rest were for renewals and others had insufficient documentation or incomplete forms. The breakdown for 2016 will not be available for a few months, but in 2015, less than 1.5% were turned down for legal reasons ranging from not being a resident of the state to a felony conviction. One person out of the 45,549 applications in 2015 was turned down because their check bounced.

That correlates with my experience in teaching concealed carry courses in Arizona for 15 years. In that entire period, I never had a problem with bounced checks. The people who decide to legally carry guns are incredibly responsible.


I have only been able to find one permit holder who was convicted of any sort of homicide in the five years of the Wisconsin program so far. That means that Wisconsin permit holders have a homicide rate among the lowest in the world, about .1 per 100,000 per year.

Wisconsin permit holders have been involved in numerous cases of self defence and the defense of others. One of the more famous cases occurred during an attempted armed robbery in a Milwaukee barbershop.

Of course, one homicide over five years is a very small number. The extremely low rate shows the success of the Wisconsin permit system, which is one of the most liberal, least expensive, most efficiently run, and easiest to use of any in the United States. The Wisconsin DOJ has done an excellent job.

Still, the legislature could make some improvements. Open the system so that people from other states can apply. Utah and Florida get the greatest share of out of state permits now, and Wisconsin gets none.

The Wisconsin DOJ could easily gain a few million additional dollars each year if the legislature would allow people outside of Wisconsin to apply for carry permits.I grew up in Wisconsin, and spend time there. I have Arizona and Florida permits, but I’d gladly pay $50 to obtain a Wisconsin permit.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. Great for only 5(6?)years of CC. But why do we need permission from .gov? I can’t believe someone would bounce a check…

    • Stuff happens. One bounced check out of 45 thousand is amazing. Husband and wife both write checks for big items at the same time. An automatic payment goes out and is bigger than expected. An automatic deposit comes in a day late. The bank holds onto a check, for a day or two, until it will bounce, and it triggers several smaller checks all to bounce in a cascading effect as the bad check charges go up and up.

      • It doesn’t even have to be a mistake on their end. I wrote a check for $1300 a few years back and the check scanning machine at the bank somehow read it three times and pulled $3900 out of my account which took me into the red.

        Fortunately I caught it that day, called the bank and they had it sorted out in 24 hours, before any other checks cleared on the account.

        Keep an eye on your financials, daily!

    • People don’t bounce checks. Banks bounce checks when there are insufficient funds. More often, though, banks clear checks for small amounts if the customer has a good history with them. Overdraft fees are a major source of revenue for the banks.

      One bounced check out of 45,000 is an amazingly small percentage.

    • Because there may be a state where the Wisconsin permit is recognized and the Arizona permit is not. I want people in other states to be able to obtain a permit easily. Florida costs about $150 when you include picture and fingerprint. Utah requires you attend *their class* and only *their class*. In addition, I like to reward states that are doing the right thing. Wisconsin does not require either a picture or fingerprints, and dropped the cost of its permit from $50 to start, to $40 now.

    • I agree. Before the Concealed Carry movement began, in the middle 80’s, there was one state where you could carry concealed or openly without a permit. That was Vermont. Now there are 11, 12 if you count Montana outside of city limits. That is progress, and it would not have happened without permits.

      Incremental progress works. It is no longer arguable.

  2. Wisconsin has come a long way since the CCW permit issue finally made it through the legislature several years ago. Wisconsin was one of the last states to adopt CCW permits (49th) when the law took effect in late 2011. So, in almost exactly 5 years, over 300K of us have them. 60K per year. Granted the initial application process took seemingly forever due to the massive initial demand, but when I applied for mine about 2 years ago, the process went smoothly and relatively quickly. And, to date, none of my weapons, particularly the one(s) I carry concealed, have shot anyone. (One of the initial anti- arguments, as usual, was that there would be a huge spike in gun violence with the adoption of concealed carry. Never happened. Duh! Except in the hellholes of Milwaukee and now Madison, where gun violence is a daily occurance, because we all know those people are all CCW holders /sarc.)

    Now the state has a special website for online applications and renewals. Progress, but there could be so much more.

    Random thoughts:
    Photos on the permits thus allowing it to be recognized as a valid state ID?
    Active/valid permits allow for a shortened/abbreviated NICS process?
    Longer permit period than 5 years?

    I’m sure there are plusses and minuses to each point that I haven’t really dug into.

    The next step? Constitutional Carry. Not holding my breath.

  3. There are ~1,500 permit holders in Rhode Island of one million people. About .34% of the population. It’s not too impressive.

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