Category Archives: Firearms

Bill Would Allow Schools To Provide Firearm Education


Wisconsin high school students would learn how to handle a range of guns — from handguns to rifles — as an elective class under a state Assembly bill introduced last week. 

Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would allow schools to offer on-site gun education classes. Its purpose is to promote gun safety and to boost participation in trap shooting, he said.

The bill would not change a current law that prohibits live ammunition and its use on school property.

The bill would not require schools to offer a class. If they did, students would not have to take it. However, the bill would require school superintendents to develop curricula.

2.2 Mile Shot


“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 meters. For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners, we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place,” the unit said in a written statement.
Due to the distance of the shot, some voices in the military community expressed skepticism at the Canadian government’s report. The reported shot from 3,540 meters, or about 2.2 miles, would eclipse the previous sniper world record of 2,474 meters or 1.54 miles set by the United Kingdom’s Craig Harrison when he killed two Taliban insurgents in November 2009.
The Globe and Mail first reported the shot’s success and said it disrupted an ISIS attack on Iraqi forces, citing unnamed sources.
“The elite sniper was using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target,” the paper said.
The Canadian military unit confirmed the distance of shot shortly after the Globe and Mail story was published, but the shot has yet to be formally confirmed a third party agency.

Committee Considers Civil Rights Bill

Pass it!

Any person living or traveling in Wisconsin could carry a concealed weapon without a license under a bill Republican lawmakers on Wednesday urged a legislative committee to advance.

The bill, authored by Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, and Sen. David Craig, R-Big Bend, also would eliminate current state-mandated training to carry hidden weapons and allow Wisconsin residents with a license to carry a concealed weapon to bring firearms into schools unless school officials post signs prohibiting them.

The bill repeals the state’s gun-free school zone law and reduces the penalties for violating school rules banning guns from a felony offense to a misdemeanor or fine.

Craig and Felzkowski told the committee before a packed hearing expected to last hours that the legislation strengthens Wisconsin residents’ constitutional right to keep firearms especially for self-defense. Felzkowski emphasized an important aspect of the bill would allow law-abiding citizens who can carry weapons openly to now “throw a sweater on.”

“Right now I can go to Gander Mountain and buy (a handgun) and strap it to my hip — what I cannot legally do is throw a sweater on,” Felzkowski said. “That’s what we change.”

First, this is a pure civil rights issue. Keeping and bearing arms is one of the civil rights actually guaranteed by both our state and federal constitutions. There is no rational argument to continue allowing government to curtail that right in this manner.

Second, this is a practical matter to clean up the state law where it conflicts with federal law – and with other state laws, for that matter.

I’m sure this hearing will go on for far too long and the same old tired arguments that were trotted out against concealed carry will be flogged again. All of those arguments have been discredited by reality. And there are already 14 other states that already have a form of Constitutional Carry. Wisconsin is hardly being a pioneer in this regard. Let’s get this done.

NRA Moves Heavy Into Insurance

This has huge implications for West Bend’s own Delta Defense, which has been selling insurance to concealed carry holders for years and just built a new headquarters.

Enter the National Rifle Association. Stories like Balistreri’s have motivated some gun owners to purchase insurance policies that could cushion their financial burden in the event that they shoot someone. Such policies have been available for years, but last month the NRA announced a new insurance product, Carry Guard, which they marketed to their millions of members online and at their annual meeting in Atlanta. The idea of firearms liability insurance has been previously championed by gun safety advocates on the left, who envisioned insurance as an instrument of public safety that could encourage safer guns and safer behavior. As implemented by the NRA, though, firearms liability insurance has a different function—to insulate gun owners from the expense and other possible consequences of a shooting.

“We live in a litigious society,” explains Josh Powell, chief of staff and executive director of general operations for the NRA. “The bad guys come to your house and you gotta use your gun and then you end up paying a hundred thousand dollars to protect yourself.”

Powell explains that Carry Guard was created to accommodate the needs of a changing culture in the U.S., where more people carry concealed weapons. “There’s just been this incredible carry revolution that’s taken place over the past eight years, and you know, the NRA started it. We started this in Florida 35 or 36 years ago, passing the first concealed carry bill. And so this is really a response to that movement and our members saying ‘Hey, we need you guys to be the gold standard for training, liability insurance— everything concealed carry.’”

With similar language, the marketing campaign for Carry Guard emphasizes the “two pronged program” that offers “America’s most comprehensive coverage and training for those who carry a gun.” The campaign features a studio portrait of NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, staring down the camera with glinting eyes, holding up her Carry Guard insurance card like an officer flashing a badge. “I will never carry a gun without carrying this,” the adjacent text proclaims. In an article for the NRA publication America’s First Freedom, Loesch recounts her memories raising young children in crime-ridden St. Louis. She says her neighbors were grateful that she always carried a gun while supervising the children outside, and often inquired about how they could also legally carry and join her in “standing watch” over the neighborhood. “If only NRA Carry Guard existed back then,” Loesch laments. “There was no one-stop training option I could recommend.” Moreover, “Without proper coverage, my neighbors risked very real financial and legal consequences if they were ever forced to the pull the trigger in self-defense, even if they did everything right.”

Florida Concealed Carry List Hacked

This is why allowing our government to keep lists of what we do and what we own is a bad idea.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam assured concealed weapons permit holders Tuesday they have nothing to fear from alien hackers. The names of some 16,000 concealed weapon permit holders were revealed when the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ computer network was hacked earlier this month.

Some 469 individuals who did some form of e-business with the department had their names and social security numbers stolen. Those individuals have been notified and are being offered a year of free credit protection from the state.

Putnam said the attack came from outside the United States and he has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation.

Entering the 2nd Amendment World

The beginning of this story lured me in.

Atlanta (CNN)Guns are not a part of the culture of my homeland, except perhaps for the occasional Bollywood movie in which the bad guy meets his demise staring down the wrong end of a barrel.

My childhood in India was steeped in ahimsa, the tenet of nonviolence toward all living things.
The Indians may have succeeded in ousting the British, but we won with Gandhian-style civil disobedience, not a revolutionary war.
I grew up not knowing a single gun owner, and even today India has one of the strictest gun laws on the planet. Few Indians buy and keep firearms at home, and gun violence is nowhere near the problem it is in the United States. An American is 12 times more likely to be killed by a firearm than an Indian, according to a recent study.
I was expecting another lefty rant about how Americans are nuts for defending their right to bear arms. Instead, I read a thoughtful article by a woman who was truly trying to inquire with an open mind. She ended:
I leave the convention trying to reconcile what I’ve gathered on this day with the philosophy of nonviolence with which I was raised. I am not certain that vast cultural differences can be bridged in a few hours, but I am glad I got a glimpse into the world of guns. I have much to consider.

USCCA Disinvited from NRA Annual Meeting

Wow. That stinks.

West Bend, WI – The United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) today announced that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has disinvited the organization from its 2017 Annual Meetings & Exhibits and the 2018 Great American Outdoor Show because of “concerns regarding its programs.”

The move shocked the leadership of the USCCA because they were given less than two weeks notice that they had been banned from the annual show, even though they had attended for the past several years.  This decision also came as a surprise because over the past two months, the leadership from the NRA and the USCCA met twice to discuss the shared goal of the two organizations in support of the Second Amendment.

In a note sent to millions of USCCA supporters, Founder and President Tim Schmidt said that even though the NRA might be fearing the competition, USCCA will still support the NRA’s efforts to protect the Second Amendment.

I suspect that the real reason is that the NRA offers a competing insurance product and the USCCA has been gaining too much market share for the NRA’s liking. What’s unfortunate for 2nd Amendment supporters is that we have two advocacy organizations who won’t work together due to competing business interests.

New Stupid, Useless, Dangerous, TSA Policy

I am lucky (cursed?) in that I travel around our great nation quite a bit. If I am traveling to a state that has Constitutional Carry or concealed carry reciprocity with Wisconsin, which is most of the time, I usually take a gun with me. The process used to be pretty easy…

Under the old process, I simply put my unloaded firearm in a locked case in my luggage. When I checked my bag, I declared it to the agent, signed a waiver form stating that the firearm was unloaded and secured, and checked the bag. When I got to my destination, I got my bag off of the carousel and went on with my day. Easy. Simple. Safe. The firearm was never unlocked or available to me in an secure part of the airport.

In January, a lunatic took his gun out of his checked luggage, loaded it in a bathroom, and killed several people in the Ft. Lauderdale airport. In response, TSA has changed the process for the worse.

Under the new process, when I declare my firearm when I check my bag, the agent must visually inspect my gun to make sure it is unloaded and properly secured. So now, instead of the firearm remaining locked and unobtrusive, I must open my bag, open my locked gun case, and show my firearm to the agent. So now there is an unsecured weapon available at the ticket counter.

Then, when I get to my destination, my bag no longer goes to the carousal. Instead, it is taken to the baggage agent and I am paged over the overhead. If you know the new process, now you know whose bag has a firearm in it. When I go to claim my bag, the agent verifies my ID and gives me my bag. But now my bag has a big annoying zip tie around it. Again… perfectly identifying which bags have firearms in them and creating an annoyance for the owner of the bag. Here’s how my bag came out:


Let’s start with why this policy is useless… it would have done nothing to prevent what happened in Ft. Lauderdale. It took me 2 seconds to cut off that zip tie. I didn’t do it until I got out of the airport, but it would have been just as easy for me to take my bag into a restroom, retrieve my firearm, and do bad things with it at the airport – just like the guy in Ft. Lauderdale. Not to mention that the baggage claim area is not a secure area of the airport anywhere in the U.S. So if someone wanted to shoot up the place, they could just as easily bring a gun in from the outside instead of going through the hassle of checking a bag with a gun in it.


Now let’s talk about why it is dangerous… during check in, my firearm used to remain secured. Now, I am opening the case and showing it to the agent. My travel weapon is a semi-automatic and the agent just looked at it. She could see that the magazine was removed, but could not have verified that there wasn’t a round in the chamber. Will more vigilant agents ask me to open up the gun and show it? Is it better to have an unobtrusive checked gun or have people opening up their guns at the counter all the time? I think we know.

Also, as I understand it, the zip tie is put on the bag when it is checked and there is a new label that tells the baggage handlers to not put it on the carousel. What this does is clearly identify every bag that contains a firearm throughout the baggage handling process. It is not uncommon for bags and their contents to be stolen( which is why my travel gun is an inexpensive one), and this policy puts a target on the ones with guns. This goes all of the way through to when the passenger picks up his or her bag with the baggage agent. On a recent flight, there were six of us who had to go claim our bags with firearms in them. How hard would it be for bad guys to target us on our way to our hotels? Or even scout the local hotels and look for bags with the telltale zip ties around them?

Finally, it should go without saying, but the reason this policy is stupid is because of the above. Remember that this policy is a reaction to something that happened once. In the decades of air travel and millions upon millions of guns that have been transported in checked baggage, one guy got out his gun and shot up and airport. One. So now we have a new policy. Leave it up to a government agency to create a reactionary policy to a single incident that not only fails to solve the supposed problem, but actually makes the transportation of firearms more of a hassle AND more dangerous.

And people wonder why the TSA gets a bad rep…

Taking back our civil rights

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:

Shortly after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, James Madison, whom John Adams labeled the “father of the Constitution,” began the arduous task of defending the intricate document signed by his fellow conventioneers and advocating for the state Legislatures to ratify it. The birth of a new nation was not to be had without some painful moments.

One of the immediate and most forceful attacks on the new Constitution came from his fellow Virginian, Richard Henry Lee. Lee was a powerful politician, forceful orator and fierce advocate for liberty. It was Lee who had called for the original resolution to break from Britain at the Second Continental Congress in 1776. But Lee turned his political prowess against the fledgling Constitution because he was fearful of the strong central government it created.

In order to retard the power of the new federal government, Lee proposed a declaration of rights that was to include the freedom of religion and the press. Madison was flabbergasted by the proposal because it was, in his mind, utterly unnecessary. The Constitution was firmly secured to the foundation that all power and rights rested in the People except for those few specific powers ceded to the government as enumerated in the Constitution. It was a bedrock enlightenment philosophical concept as articulated by the likes of Thomas Paine and John Locke.

Madison initially saw danger in what became the Bill of Rights because to enumerate specific individual rights to be protected by the Constitution would lead some to think that those rights not specifically enumerated for protection are within the power of government to restrict or rescind. This is why the 10th Amendment became a catch-all for rights not listed.

Madison eventually came around to support and author the Bill of Rights as a practical necessity to assure skittish state legislators and secure their support for ratifying the Constitution, but Madison’s fears were prescient. The natural momentum of government is to expand its power and our federal government has often run roughshod over natural rights not enumerated in the Constitution, as amended. But our government has also not been shy about trampling those rights that are singled out for protection.

That is not to say that all rights are absolute. It is the appropriate function of government to intervene and set boundaries when one right rubs up against another. For example, it is undeniably my right to speak out and protest against my government. But the government can, and should, deny that right to me if I try to do it on another citizen’s private property. The government can, and should, also restrict certain rights in a more systematic way when there is a substantial or pressing government interest to do so. But the standard for what constitutes a “substantial government interest” is, and should be, extraordinarily high.

Since the ratification of our Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms, as enumerated in the Second Amendment, has been steadily eroded thanks to fear, ignorance, and opportunistic politicians. For the first several decades, this right was rarely restricted. People regularly carried firearms either openly or concealed.

During Reconstruction after the Civil War, a wave of restrictions to the Second Amendment swept over the South as a means for the federal government to maintain order and, as white southerners regained

control of their state legislatures, to suppress black Americans. Subsequent waves of government restrictions of the Second Amendment came as politicians took advantage of various opportunities to disarm the public. New York City required its citizens to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm in 1911 after a brazen murder-suicide in broad daylight. Mayor Daley ordered that all firearms in Chicago be registered in 1968.

All of these restrictions of the Second Amendment grew out of fear, hate, ignorance, and complacency without anything that could rationally be called a “substantial government interest.” A couple of decades ago, Americans began to take back their Second Amendment rights with the steady loosening of gun laws in states and the universal legalization of concealed carry. Despite the lamentations of opponents, the evidence is clear that the public did not suffer any negative consequences of this movement. In fact, the data points to several possible benefits like lower crime. The nation’s most crime-ridden bastions remain those with the strictest remaining gun control laws.

The next progression in reclaiming our Second Amendment rights is the passage of what has been termed “Constitutional Carry,” and it has been introduced in Wisconsin. Constitutional Carry is simply the return to how our Second Amendment was originally conceived and how it was enforced for most of the first century of our nation’s history. Free Americans who have not committed a serious crime and who are mentally competent would be free to own and carry a firearm in any manner they so choose. All of the other restrictions, like respecting private property rights, would remain in place.

Opponents of Constitutional Carry rest their arguments in the same irrational fear and hate as those who opposed concealed carry. “It will be like the Wild West with blood in the streets,” etc. But history and facts disprove their arguments. As of right now, 12 other states already have Constitutional Carry. One of them, Vermont, has had Constitutional Carry since the Constitution was ratified in 1791. Alaska has had it for 23 years. Liberal New Hampshire and Conservative North Dakota both passed Constitutional Carry earlier this year.

None of the states that have Constitutional Carry have experienced any ill effects. The reason is simple and is the same reason why there has been nothing but positive effects since concealed carry was passed six years ago in Wisconsin: concealed carry or Constitutional Carry only really applies to good, law-abiding people. Much to our collective lament, the bad people already practice Constitutional Carry.

We should never allow our government to restrict any of our civil rights without a rigorous debate and an imminently justifiable cause for doing so. And when we have foolishly allowed our government to restrict our civil rights without just cause, we should take every opportunity to take back our rights. Wisconsin should return to Constitutional Carry.

Senator Craig Supports Constitutional Carry


At a base level, the law would give citizens easier access to their constitutional rights, Craig said.

“This is a constitutional right, this is a fundamental right laid out by the Second Amendment,” he said. “Government should be examining that to determine and make sure people aren’t infringed of their rights.

Giving citizens access to those constitutional rights has panned out well in the past, he said. Already, Wisconsinites do not need a permit or training to carry a gun openly.

“In Wisconsin you can open carry (without a permit),” he said. “Are there any ill consequences of that in Wisconsin of any measurable amount? No, there’s not.”

Permitless concealed carry is already happening in 12 states, Craig said, ranging in ideology from Missouri to “Bernie Sanders’ own home state of Vermont.”

“What makes Wisconsinites any different?” he said. “And if other states are doing this without ill effect, and we’ve had the level of permitless carry in Wisconsin without ill effect, why would we not break down that barrier?”

Look for my column on Tuesday :)

Local Legislators Sign On To Constitutional Carry

This bill is quickly gaining momentum.

The Right to Carry Act introduced Tuesday morning would do away with licensing and training requirements to carry a concealed weapon and lower the age requirement to own a gun, and has support of politicians in the State Legislature from throughout the county.

The bill is co-authored by area legislators Sen. Duey Stroebel, Rep. Dan Knodl, Rep. Bob Gannon, Rep. Rob Brooks and Rep. Jesse Kremer. Wisconsin would be the 13th state to allow concealed carry without a permit, and information sent out with the bill indicates the new legislation will restore constitutional rights.

“It doesn’t go as far as some states have gone,” Gannon said. Another 20 states are working on similar laws, he added.

Knodl said people shouldn’t have to pay for their Second Amendment right.

Constitutional Carry Introduced in Wisconsin

Yes, yes, and more yes.

Jay Weber has a good FAQ about the bill being introduced today to bring Constitutional Carry to Wisconsin. Essentially, it would allow people to carry a weapon without a permit. 14 states – some very liberal and some very conservative – already have Constitutional Carry and haven’t had any problems with it. The reason is simple… bad guys already carry weapons whether the law allows it or not. The only thing restrictions do is prevent law-abiding folks from doing the same thing.

This is the kind of serious reform I was looking for in this legislature. From a political point of view, this comes at a good time for state Republicans. The national Republicans have severely damaged the Republican brand and frustrated the base with their failure to repeal Obamacare. If state Republicans want to avoid what us likely a Democratic landslide in 2018, they need to demonstrate that they can move important and substantial conservative legislation. This is a good steep in that direction. (Repealing the state income tax would be another good step)

Let’s get it done.

Barrett Declines Comment

This is curious. Mayor Barrett never misses an opportunity to push for more gun control.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declined comment on the gun control issue, saying he wanted to keep the focus on five arrests made Friday in connection with the fatal shooting of the housing inspector, Greg Zyszkiewicz.

Protecting Our Kids

One subject that I’m a little surprised hasn’t been more of an issue in the race for the West Bend School Board is the issue of allowing firearms in our schools. One of the candidates, Tonnie Schmidt, is the co-owner of Delta Defense, which has been incredibly active in promoting more progressive and realistic means of defending out schools.

Last year I attended a forum sponsored by Delta Defense where the panelists discussed the varying benefits and worries about allowing firearms into our schools. The basic premise is that gun-free zones are targets for deranged lunatics. A more rational response is to allow people the defend themselves just like they can across the street from the school. That might mean just allowing anyone who is already licensed to carry a weapon to also do so in schools. It might mean just allowing willing teachers and staff to be armed. It might mean some other flavor of armed deterrence and defense. The point is that there is no rational basis for not allowing adults to protect themselves and our kids with access to lethal force should the worst happen. As I said in my column about this subject:

Banning the same people who safely carry a concealed weapon into grocery stores, banks, restaurants, parks and many other places from carrying that same weapon into a school is nonsensical. The ban is based on an irrational fear of guns that has been debunked everywhere else in society. And for many CCW parents, like me, it is ludicrous to disarm parents precisely at the time when they are with the people they most want to defend — their children.

Perhaps if Schmidt is elected to the School Board, this is an issue she could champion. Many of us would be 100% behind her if she did.

Guns Allowed on Madison Buses

Excellent ruling. Hats off to Wisconsin Carry for seeing this through.

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Madison can’t prohibit passengers from carrying guns on Metro buses, Mayor Paul Soglin said he plans to appeal to the state legislature to change the law.

The 5-2 decision overturned an Appeals Court ruling and said that local government cannot enforce rules that contradict Wisconsin’s concealed-carry law.

Soglin said he plans to ask the Legislature to amend an existing statute to allow the city to prohibit firearms on public buses, just as it can ban weapons from city buildings.

“We see no reason why it should not be permissible under the Constitution for us to do something incredibly reasonable,” Soglin said.

Simple, Mayor. The government should not prohibit people from exercising their natural rights without a reasonable cause. The fact that the mayor is an anti-2nd Amendment zealot is not a reasonable cause.

Florida Evaluates Burden of Proof in Self Defense Cases

Hmmmm… this is intriguing.

While at least 22 states have similar laws that say people can use force — even deadly force — to defend themselves from threats, Florida could soon be alone shifting the burden of proof to prosecutors.

Republican Sen. Rob Bradley says his bill “isn’t a novel concept.”

“We have a tradition in our criminal justice system that the burden of proof is with the government from the beginning of the case to the end,” he said.

Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that the burden of proof is on defendants during self-defense immunity hearings. That’s the practice around the country. According to a legislative staff analysis of Bradley’s bill, only four states mention burden of proof in their “stand your ground” laws — Alabama, Colorado, Georgia and South Carolina — and all place the burden on defendants.

On the one hand, Bradley is correct. Our entire criminal legal structure is founded upon the notion that people are innocent until proven guilty by the government. The burden of proof is on the government to prove that someone broke the law. Why should it be any different in the case of self defense?

On the other hand, the government usually doesn’t have to prove intent. If I shoot someone, the government’s responsibility is to prove that I did it. Assuming that I did, then it would then be my responsibility to prove that the shooting was justified by self-defense. If the presumption if that every shooting is in self-defense unless the government proves otherwise, then it would be asking the government to enter the mind of the shooter to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – intent. That would seem impossible in many cases. Then again, right now it is impossible for the shooter to prove his or her intent either.

Tough call… in the end, I would lean on the side on placing the burden of proof on the government.

Rep. Gannon Slams Rotary International for Anti-Gun Stand

The full story at the Washington County Insider. Good for Gannon.

Feb. 27, 2017 – West Bend, WI – State Representative Bob Gannon (R-West Bend) will be speaking to the West Bend Sunrise Rotary on Tuesday about a directive from the Rotary International Board that forbids local clubs from participating in events that relate to guns.

Some of the suggested events include gun shows, shooting events, gun raffles, etc.

During a one-on-one interview Monday morning Gannon said he learned about the decision by Rotary International last week.

“All I can assume is the Rotary International Board probably, as part of the debate to pass something this broad, somebody brought up that this wasn’t going to go over well in America and all I can assume is the people around the table said ‘tough,’” said Gannon.

“Rotary International has every right to act like a mini United Nations, but I also have the right to no longer support them.”

Army Took 10 Years to Choose New Sidearm

This is ridiculous.

(CNN)After a long and much-criticized search, the US Army has chosen Sig Sauer to produce its next generation of handgun, eventually replacing the current standard issue sidearm, the Beretta M9 pistol.

“Following a thorough operational test, fielding of the modular handgun is expected to begin in 2017,” the Army said in a statement announcing the decision Thursday.
“The Army’s effort to buy a new handgun has already taken 10 years and produced nothing but a more than 350-page requirements document micromanaging extremely small unimportant details,” Senate Armed Services committee chairman John McCain wrote in a 2015 report on the program’s problems.
“A decade for a pistol?” Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina asked at the same Mattis confirmation hearing. “They’re relatively simple devices … This is a great testament to what’s wrong with defense acquisition.”
Amen to that. We need to fund a powerful military, but wasting money on bloated processes like this is inexcusable.

Republican State Senator Proposes More Gun Laws


Senators Alberta Darling (R­River Hills) and LaTonya Johnson (D­Milwaukee) and Representatives Joe Sanfelippo (R­New Berlin) and David Bowen (D­Milwaukee) are introducing a bi­partisan bill to help curb gun crimes in the city. Darling says the bill will help take guns out of the hands of criminals who aren’t allowed to have them in the first place.

“This bill gives prosecutors more opportunities to take criminals off the street,” Darling said, “We’ve worked together with local officials for months to find a bipartisan solution that will make Milwaukee safer.”

Senator Darling’s bill will:

  • Prohibit an individual from possessing a firearm if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor on three separate occasions within five years. The criminal penalty would be a Class G felony. (fines up to $25,000, up to 10 years in prison or both)

  • Prohibit an individual from buying a firearm intending to give it to a person who is banned from possessing a firearm. The criminal penalty would be a Class G felony.

  • Prohibit an individual from giving or possessing a firearm for someone who is banned from possessing a firearm. The criminal penalty would be a Class G felony.

  • Add a question to the state notification form about straw purchasers. Lying about being a straw purchaser on the state form would be a Class H felony. (fines up to $10,000, imprisonment up to 6 years or both)


At first glance, I like all of these measures. I’d like to see some more details on the first one. For example, if someone is convicted of three misdemeanors for non-violent crimes, multiple non-violent crimes from the same incident (like a car accident), etc., the the bar is not high enough to deny someone their civil right to own a firearm. But if it’s three violent misdemeanor crimes, drug trafficking, etc., then I’m all for it.

Of course, none of this matters if the DA and judges don’t enforce the laws. One of the biggest problems right now is that the DAs routinely bargain down or away gun charges and judges routinely give light sentences for gun crimes that make it into their courtrooms.

Flying with Guns

There’s nothing wrong with the process.

(CNN)The shooting Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport may test the bounds of something that is entirely legal and commonplace in the United States: Flying with a gun and ammunition.

The incident highlights the peculiarities and seeming contradictions of local, state and federal gun laws inside the nation’s airports: It is legal for a passenger to travel with a firearm and ammunition in checked baggage, but inside baggage claim or at a ticketing counter, that person might otherwise be breaking the law if the weapon is out in the open or carried on their person.

I fly with a gun fairly often – at least 12 or 15 times a year. The process is pretty straightforward and secure. When I check a bag, I declare to the agent that there is a firearm in my bag. The firearm must be in a locked case and unloaded. One can also include ammunition, but only in the original box. I sign an orange form verifying all of that and place the form on top of the case in my bag. I also have my cell number taped to my case in case the TSA has any questions. Long guns are a bit different because they are in their own case, but the process is basically the same.

The Indianapolis airport has an extra step where you have to take a form and give it to the TSA supervisor after security, then the supervisor calls down to make sure the bag has been checked before letting you move on. That’s the only airport I’ve been to that has that extra step, but it’s not a big deal and the TSA is usually pretty friendly about it.

That’s it. When I get to my destination, I get my bag like usual and go on my way. The firearm is never within my reach in the secure area of the airport or on the airplane.

As far as the weapon being available in the baggage area, that is true. But someone with evil intent could just as easily park outside and walk in with a gun. It is an unsecured area of the airport and even though firearms are prohibited in most airports even in the unsecured area, a sign does not prevent evil people from doing evil acts. By the way, the same is true in schools, malls, sporting venues, and other places that prohibit firearms.

The only way to possibly have prevented this would be to move the secure area to the exterior walls. This would require people to check and retrieve bags outside of the building and have TSA checks at every entrance. Not only would it be a huge additional expense and hassle, it would only move the unsecured area further out. The killer would then just attack people outside waiting for their bags.

In other words, unless we want to live in a totalitarian police state, it is impossible to prevent a determined single killer from attacking innocents. What we can do is be vigilant about the people around us and mitigate the damage by responding quickly and harshly.