Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle plans to veto a bill that would allow gun-owners to pack concealed weapons. Stateline.org says the measure has Republican proponents blasting “criminals, druggies and wackos” and Democrats returning fire with equal passion.
Doyle’s planned veto has strong support from Wisconsin’s law enforcement community and the public. An override attempt by pro-gun forces backed by the National Rifle Association seems unlikely to succeed. Stateline.org says that would still give Republicans ammunition for their 2004 election-year strategy, which Wisconsin Democrats predict will focus on “guns, God, and gays.” The Republicans already were targeting Doyle’s vetoes of a property tax freeze and a ban on gay marriage.
“Wisconsin enacted a law prohibiting concealed weapons in the 1870s, and it’s been the law of Wisconsin for 130 years,” said Doyle, a former state attorney general. “We’re one of the safest states in the country. I stand with law enforcement on this. I don’t think we’re safer if we’re all carrying weapons to the mall.” A University of Wisconsin Badger Poll said 69 percent of state residents opposed the concealed-carry bill. Democrats claim the true point of the bill is to make guns a “wedge issue” for Republicans that will energize the gun lobby vote against Democrats.
The state Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the right of property owners to carry concealed guns at businesses and in homes for self-protection, not on streets or in public places.