Joint Finance approves concealed carry bill
By: Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
MADISON -- People who want to carry hidden guns in Wisconsin would have to be licensed, undergo background checks and take some kind of training under a concealed carry bill that passed the legislature’s budget committee.
The plan is a departure from one Republicans were considering that would have let virtually anyone carry concealed guns with almost no restrictions. This plan would charge Wisconsin residents up to $50 for a permit and for a background check. People would have to show evidence of some kind of training, which could include the state’s hunter safety program. Concealed weapons would be banned in government buildings and they could be prohibited in private businesses.
But those restrictions aside, the plan would give Wisconsin residents a right they don’t have now—the ability to legally carry a gun in public hidden from the public eye. Ripon Republican Sen. Luther Olsen voted against concealed carry when it came up in past sessions, but he supported this plan. He says, "I think at the end of the day this is not going to make Wisconsin a more violent state. I'm not so sure it's going to make it a safer state. But people have a right to carry guns. And we need to have a law that allows them to do that and lays out the training, the permit process so they can do that."
But Democrats voted no, saying there needed to be more restrictions on where people could carry. Milwaukee Democratic Rep. Tamara Grigsby praised the changes Republicans made to the plan but said she still couldn't support it. She says, "And not because I don't recognize that there are some positive changes. I'm voting 'no' because I won't be forced into picking the lesser of two evils. And I think that we are here today having to choose between what are two very evil bills."
The proposal now heads to the full legislature where the Senate could debate it on Tuesday.