Wisconsin’s legislators are poised to repeal an 1870-era ban on concealed weapons, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says. The bill would require county sheriffs to issue permits to those 21 and older who take a training course and meet other criteria. Gov. Jim Doyle plans to veto it.
The newspaper says officials in other states that have recently gone through the concealed weapons debate advise being wary of experts with figures said to prove that the numbers of murders, armed robberies and other violent crimes dropped in states that legalized the carrying of concealed weapons.
It is rare for a legally armed private citizen to be involved in an incident that threatens public safety. “I have never encountered a (threatening) event that involved an individual with a gun permit,” said Minnesota’s Hennepin County Sheriff Pat McGowan. “There’s a lot of hype on both sides.”
Since Minnesota’s law was enacted five months ago, the demand for permits seems much less than the 90,000 statewide that had been predicted for the first year. Just over 2,300 applications for concealed weapon permits have been requested in Hennepin County.
In Iowa, Doug Marek, deputy attorney general for criminal justice, says that “The system that we have in Iowa seems to be working well.” Iowa allows the state’s 99 sheriffs to issue concealed weapon permits – a “may issue” provision that is law in 11 states.
If the Wisconsin bill becomes law, Wisconsin would be the 35th state to have a “must issue” law, which would require local sheriffs to issue concealed weapon permits to those 21 and older who have completed firearms and safety training, who have never been convicted of a felony and who would otherwise qualify. Wisconsin budget analysts have estimated that 1 percent of Wisconsin residents 21 and older would apply to carry a concealed weapon. They predict that 37,500 residents would apply for such permits in the first year.