NRA applauds, Dems denounce new conceal carry gun bill

The Wisconsin Gazette

The National Rifle Association fired praise. Democratic lawmakers denounced the Republican-authored “Right to Carry” gun legislation announced March 28 in Madison.

Republican lawmakers said the “Right to Carry” measure would simplify state law and fortify the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites. Backers said the bill would eliminate the concealed carry licensure requirement, aligning the state with federal law. Wisconsin law currently allows for the “open” or exposed carry of a firearm without a permit but it does not allow for the concealed carrying of a gun without a permit.

“This legislation is a win-win for everyone,” said Republican Rep. Rob Brooks of Saukville, who is one of about 40 sign on to the measure co-authored by Republican Sen. David Craig and Rep. Mary Felzkowski.

The NRA supports that statement. The group said the proposal would allow “law-abiding gun owners to carry their firearm in the manner that best suits their needs.”

“Right to Carry is commonsense legislation for Wisconsin,” Scott Rausch, NRA-ILA Wisconsin state liaison said of the bill to expand where concealed carry is legal, create a basic license for people to bring guns to school grounds and remove age restrictions.

Democratic Sen. Jennifer Shilling called the legislation the “permitless carry” bill.

“Allowing anyone to carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public without any safety training or a simple background check is completely irresponsible,” Shilling said in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison, opposing the measure, said, “‘Right to Carry’ laws are associated with substantially higher rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape and murder.

“We know that where there are less gun safety measures and more guns, more dangerous individuals get access to guns and more women die,” Taylor said. “We know that where there are less gun safety measures and more guns, more dangerous people get access to guns and more police officers die. And yet, here we are, making it easier for dangerous people to carry concealed weapons.”

Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent of Madison called sponsorship of the bill irresponsible and its proposals dangerous.

“From 2002 to 2011, more people were killed with guns in Wisconsin than all combat deaths in the Iraq War and this is the best Republicans can come up with to address this issue? It’s not just embarrassing, it’s appalling,” Sargent said.