Wisconsin’s Concealed Carry Law To Be Signed Friday

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) will sign the bill that makes Wisconsin the 49th state with some form of concealed carry on Friday in Wausau, WI.

The primary sponsor of the bill, State Senator Pam Galloway (R), represents Wausau in the Wisconsin State Senate.

The location of the signing will be at the Grand Lodge Hotel just outside of Wausau in Rothschild. Looks like a nice place for this historic event.

CCW In Wisconsin Sooner Than Later?

If the Washington Post is to be believed, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature are making a major push to pass certain legislation before recall elections scheduled for this summer.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP leaders have launched a push to ram several years’ worth of conservative agenda items through the Legislature this spring before recall elections threaten to end the party’s control of state government.

Republicans, in a rapid sequence of votes over the next eight weeks, plan to legalize concealed weapons, deregulate the telephone industry, require voters to show photo identification at the polls, expand school vouchers and undo an early release for prisoners.

Six Republican State Senators and three Democrats may face recall elections starting in July. A net change of three seats would let the Democrats regains control of the State Senate. Both the recall elections and the time crunch to pass legislation can be attributed to the clash with public employee unions along with the walk-out by Democrat members of the State Senate.

It can be expected that both the Democrat Party and the unions will put lots of money into these recall elections as they did during the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election between Justice David Prosser and his Democrat challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg. While still undergoing a recount, it looks like Justice Prosser held onto his seat despite the opposition’s money. However, in a local election, it could have more of an impact.

Wisconsin Legislature Begins Efforts On Concealed Carry

The NRA-ILA has just released information on two concealed carry bills that are due to be introduced into the Wisconsin legislature. One will allow a Vermont or Arizona style constitutional carry. The other is a “shall issue” concealed carry permit.

Wisconsin: The 2011 Personal Protection Act Has Arrived!
Committee Hearings Have Been Scheduled for Next Thursday!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Now is Time for You to Act!

The good citizens of Wisconsin have been denied their right to self-defense for too long and the time has now come to make the Personal Protection Act a reality! It is time that Wisconsin joins Free America and the 48 other states with concealed carry laws. The bills have been circulated for sponsorship and it is critical that you contact your state Representative and state Senator to urge them to cosponsor this legislation.

There are two bills being introduced in the 2011 legislative session that allow Wisconsinites to carry concealed weapons for personal protection. The first is known as “permitless carry” and it simply eliminates the current prohibition against law-abiding citizens carrying concealed firearms. Many citizens already carry openly and this will allow them to conceal their firearms. It also eliminates the “cased and unloaded” requirement for handguns in motor vehicles. State Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) has introduced this bill in the Senate and there is currently no companion bill in the Assembly. Its designation before assigned a bill number is LRB 2007 and both senators and representatives are able to cosponsor it.

The second is a “shall issue” carry license bill that allows Wisconsinites to obtain a license from the state Department of Justice (DOJ) in order to carry a concealed weapon. This license bill offers some additional benefits. These include the ability to use the license to carry a concealed weapon in many other states while traveling and the ability to carry concealed weapons in school zones (1000-foot area surrounding school grounds). These zones are prolific and it is virtually impossible to navigate populated areas without entering them while engaging in routine activities. The federal penalty for a school zone violation is up to five years in prison and a fine. State Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) and state Representative Jeffrey Mursau (R-Crivitz) are the sponsors of this bill. The current Senate Bill designation is LRB 2027 and the Assembly Bill is LRB 2033.

When contacting your state legislators to request that they cosponsor the Personal Protection Act, please also ask them to oppose any amendments that restrict your ability to defend yourself or place unnecessary hurdles in the process required to obtain a concealed weapons license. Too many legislators are acting as if there are not 48 other states with such concealed carry laws and that there is no way of determining what works and what does not. The time for guessing has ended!

We have provided two documents that will further inform you about this fight for your rights. One is a summary of the bills, with details regarding the “shall issue” carry license bill, and the other is a comprehensive Questions and Answers document

A search of the Wisconsin legislature’s website does not yet list either bill. I believe that is because they are being circulated to obtain sponsors and co-sponsors.


Time To Pass CCW In Wisconsin Is Now

I thought you needed 20 Senators to make a quorum in the Wisconsin State Senate. You do but only for fiscal bills. According to the National Review Online, a simple majority is all that is needed for other bills.

Bringing up hot-button legislation while the Democrats are gone is another arrow in Walker’s quiver. Though the Wisconsin constitution requires three-fifths of the senate to be present to pass fiscal legislation, a simple majority of 17 members constitutes a quorum for other bills in the 33-seat state senate. So the 19 GOP senators who remain in Madison can pass any number of bills while their Democratic colleagues are on the lam, and Republicans are a majority in the assembly, too. “They can hold off, but there is a whole legislative agenda that Republicans in the senate and assembly can start acting on that only requires simple majorities,” Walker warns.“If they want to do their jobs, and have a say, they better show up.”

Non-spending bills and government appointments could see action early Tuesday. Walker says he will not yield as the standoff unfolds, especially since Wisconsin is facing a projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.

Gov. Scott Walker indicated during his campaign for Governor that he would sign a concealed carry bill if it were presented to him.

If you are a gun rights supporter who lives in Wisconsin, call your legislators and urge them to get to work on CCW. I doubt you could get constitutional carry to pass but you just never know. At the very least, make Wisconsin a “shall-issue” state.

No Appeal in Wisconsin Concealed Carry Case

About a month ago, I did a post on Clark County, WI Judge Jon Counsell who ruled that that Wisconsin’s ban on concealed carry was unconstitutional. At the time it was widely speculated that the State of Wisconsin would appeal that ruling.

They didn’t.

In an email that I received today from Asst. State Public Defender William Poss he said, “The good news is that the state did not appeal the ruling.” That is good news indeed for residents of Clark County, Wisconsin!

With the recent electoral victories of Republican Scott Walker as Governor and the Republican take-over of both houses of the Wisconsin State Assembly, look to see a bill authorizing concealed carry statewide in 2011.

The State of Concealed Carry in the State of Wisconsin

When an obscure Wisconsin judge made a monumental ruling in an obscure case, the blogging world sat up and took notice. Clark County Circuit Judge Jon Counsell ruled earlier this week that the ban on concealed carry by the state of Wisconsin was unconstitutional. The pro-rights community celebrated his ruling while the anti-rights community (as usual) warns of blood in the streets.

Joshua Schultz was arrested for having a concealed weapon. In this case, the concealed weapon was an orange-handled, fixed-blade knife that he had stuck in the front waistband of his pants. He was in a private apartment when a Clark County deputy opened the door. Schultz immediately informed the deputy of the knife and showed him where it was when asked. He was then charged with carrying a concealed weapon in violation of Section 941.23 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Schultz, as noted later, was represented in court by Assistant State Public Defender William Louis Poss. Poss introduced a motion to dismiss the case. He argued in his brief supporting that motion that the court had the authority to decide constitutional questions, that the level of scrutiny should be strict scrutiny, and that the Wisconsin statute was over-broad and therefore facially unconstitutional. He also argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a privilege of American citizenship and applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause.

Judge Counsell, in his decision, first examines what level of scrutiny should be applied in this case. He concluded:

This court concludes that a strict scrutiny test should be applied in evaluating the statute in question here, section 941.23. The court reaches this conclusion because sec. 941.23 absolutely prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons for all persons in Wisconsin, except “peace officers.” The statute flatly prohibits a certain behavior/activity. It thus takes away what this court understands Heller and McDonald to deem an individual and fundamental right.

He goes on to say that to pass the strict scrutiny test, the concealed carry ban must be justified by a compelling governmental interest, be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest, and be the least restrictive means for achieving that goal. While finding that the government did have a compelling interest in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, he said the law over-reached and was over-broad. He compared the statute to a leaden blanket when a lightweight silk blanket would suffice. Moreover, he found that the law was not the least restrictive means to achieve the government’s goal. He noted that 48 other states had some form of concealed carry and mass crime did not break out. Indeed, he referred to the work of John Lott and said there is a strong argument that concealed carry makes citizens safer.

Judge Counsell concluded:

Thus, while the State has an interest in public safety, sec. 941.23 is unconstitutional because it is not narrowly tailored to achieve the State’s interest nor is it the least restrictive means for achieving that interest.

Finally, in a vindication of Alan Gura’s argument in McDonald regarding the Privileges or Immunities Clause, Judge Counsell applied the reasoning in Justice Thomas’s McDonald concurrence to this case. He said the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and must not be abridged by state laws such as Section 421.23. He then found this law also violated the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the U. S. Constitution and ordered Schultz’s case dismissed.

Cases that have advanced our civil rights have taken two primary forms. First, there is the strategic civil rights litigation approach that Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation are taking advancing gun rights. It involves carefully screening the plaintiffs, picking your battles, suing in the proper venue, seeking good precedents, and then building on those wins. This was the same approach that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund took starting in the 1930s and which led to many civil rights victories including the end to segregation by race. Likewise, Lamda Legal is also following this same approach in their efforts to expand rights for gays and lesbians.

Then there are the cases, usually in criminal court, where a civil rights victory is achieved quite unexpectedly with a less than ideal defendant. Looking at some of the great Supreme Court civil rights cases of the 1960s that were won this way two come immediately to mind: Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright. In the former case, Ernesto Miranda was a sexual deviant, robber, and rapist who was convicted of raping an 18-year old girl after he confessed to the crime under interrogation. Miranda made his confession without being advised of his right to an attorney as well as his right to remain silent. His win for civil rights in the Supreme Court secured the “Miranda Warning” which requires that a person who is arrested be advised of their right to an attorney and to remain silent.

In the latter, and to my mind, more important case, a poor drifter named Clarence Earl Gideon was convicted of felony theft after representing himself in court because he couldn’t afford to hire an attorney. From his cell at the Florida State Prison he sent his handwritten appeal to the Supreme Court and they accepted it. The Court assigned future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas as his attorney and he won in a 9-0 decision. Gideon’s win led to court-appointed attorneys and public defenders for the indigent. While there can be some debate about the quality of some of these attorneys, a poor man is no longer forced to conduct his own legal defense without an attorney.

Joshua Schultz, the defendant in the Wisconsin concealed carry case, is not a choir boy. According to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access System, he has been found guilty of everything from drunk driving to disorderly conduct and theft. He is currently under a temporary restraining order for domestic spousal abuse. Nonetheless, due to Clarence Gideon’s earlier win, Mr. Schultz was represented by an assistant state public defender who was energetic enough and smart enough to see the constitutional conflicts inherent in Wisconsin’s ban on concealed carry. Out of this has come a win for civil rights in at least one part of Wisconsin.