Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Constitutional Carry

Committee Vote Scheduled for Constitutional Carry

It’s good to see some progress.

A state Senate committee vote has been scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 19) on a bill — Senate Bill 169 — that, as introduced, would repeal Wisconsin’s state “gun-free school zones” statute.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety included the SB 169, also known as the permit-less carry bill, as the final item in its public notice of an executive session (i.e., a committee vote on the bill) for Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 411 South, State Capitol.

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.

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.

Kansas Becomes a Constitutional Carry State

It’s good to see the expansion of liberty.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday signed a bill allowing Kansans to carry concealed weapons without a permit or training starting this summer.

The new law will go into effect on July 1, and will make Kansas the sixth “constitutional carry” state, allowing Kansans 21 and older to carry concealed weapons without a permit, the Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

And Ohio maybe next.

Ohioans could carry concealed firearms without a permit if a bill introduced in the Statehouse Tuesday becomes law.

The state would join Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Vermont and Wyoming with “constitutional carry,” the term used by proponents of nearly unrestricted gun laws.

The proposed law would allow anyone 21 or older to carry any firearm not banned by state or federal law without a permit. The bill would also prohibit law enforcement from searching and detaining otherwise law-abiding citizens based solely on the possession of a firearm.



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