Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Optional concealed carry permit?

 Senator Pam Galloway has submitted an amendment to Senate Bill 93 which allows for an optional concealed carry permit.

Analysis of Amendment to Constitutional Carry Bill

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mr. Special

A writer of a letter to the editor of the Wisconsin State Journal thinks he's special, and clever. When in fact he is neither.

Mr. Special

Clueless people weigh in on Wisconsin Concealed Carry

 The chances that I would editorialize on brain surgery are very remote.  But not everyone who has zero grasp of a topic exercises similar restraint.
This guy, for example.

Meanwhile, despite a setback, attempts at an Illinois concealed carry bill continue

 For a brief time it appeared that Illinois might have a chance at passing a concealed carry bill before Wisconsin.  That appears unlikely now, but the fight to keep and BEAR arms continues for our neighbors to the south.

The fight for concealed carry in Illinois continues

Madison Police Chief Wray Wants Concealed Carry Restrictions Added

Madison Chief of Police Noble Wray wants to add restrictions to Wisconsin Concealed Carry

What do you think of Chief Wray's concerns?  Are the police simply fearful of Wisconsin citizens?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mini review: From my personal library.

Eyes Wide Open:  by Kristie Kilgore
While not specifically about firearms, this book is an excellent introduction to personal security awareness for anyone serious about their safety.  Kilgore implores us to approach our personal security in the same manner that professional bodyguards protect their clients.  She provides useful discussions of attitude, awareness, threat assessment and high risk environments.  Photographs of martial arts techniques effective against grabs and chokes are included as well of a discussion of using or facing various types of weapons. 

Mini review: From my personal library.

Shootout II, and The Shotgun in Combat:  by Tony Lesce
Lesce was a prolific writer in the 80’s and 90’s.  My copies were published in 1981 and 1984 respectively.  I doubt that either book is still in print, but used copies seem to be available through online searches.   I had a brief correspondence with Tony at least ten years ago which was as straight to the point as his writing.    His books are sprinkled with a combination of photographs and illustrations and packed with no frills information.  Surprising little of it is outdated.  The interesting thing about these books is that Tony avoids no taboo subject in his writings, covering topics such as “throwaway guns” and execution killing.  He also covers seldom discussed topics such as the merits of “Dutch loading” a firearm, i.e., loading two or more different types of ammunition into a firearm (for example alternating hollow points and hardball ammo, or slugs and buckshot in a shotgun.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Last week’s hearing on concealed carry held by the WI Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections brought out many of the usual opponents of concealed carry.  Noticeably changed from previous attempts at passing a concealed carry bill in Wisconsin was a sense of resignation among even the most ardent opponents that a concealed carry bill will pass this year in Wisconsin.  The opponents shifted their emphasis away from simply called for votes against a concealed bill towards encouraging amendments to the bill to add greater hurdles and restrictions on concealed carry.  Those who were around during the past attempts to pass a Wisconsin concealed carry bill will recall that the bill became so laden with restrictions and provisions that many concealed carry advocates became disillusioned with the bill.  The current “shall-issue” and “constitutional carry” bills are clean bills without burdensome restrictions.  If either passes without amendments the opponents may wish that former Governor Doyle had not vetoed the previous bills.  Too bad for them!  The end result of that veto was an explosion in the practice of open carry in Wisconsin and an excellent chance of a much less restrictive concealed carry bill passing now.  If that happens, from a political standpoint it will have been worth the wait.  Of course it cannot ever be worth the wait for all the people who have been denied the right to carry a concealed weapon and who have been victimized by criminals in the interim. 

At the hearing, none of the opponents brought anything new to the discussion.  Instead they merely rehashed the same arguments heard many times in the past and which fall under a few basic headings:

1)  Greater restrictions should be placed on who should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon.  We can’t have felons, violent domestic abusers or mentally unstable people carrying concealed weapons!
How would a concealed carry bill change that?  It is already illegal for those classes of people to possess a firearm.  Do the opponents seriously think that the inability to get a concealed carry permit would prevent a criminal from carrying a concealed weapon?  Criminals cannot get a concealed weapons permit in Wisconsin right now (nor can anyone who isn’t a current or retired law enforcement officer) and yet they’re carrying concealed weapons all the time.  Passage of a concealed carry bill does not put a firearm in the hands of anyone who cannot currently possess and carry a gun.

2)  Additional restrictions should be placed in the bill on the list of prohibited places one may carry a firearm.  We don’t want guns in hospitals, bars, sports venues, fairgrounds, daycare centers, domestic shelters, social service offices, non-profit organizations, any government owned-buildings, etc.  The list goes on and on.
Of course this argument overlooks the fact that home owners and businesses already have the ability to prohibit firearms or any other items they do not like from their premises.  Yet putting a ban into a statute removes the ability of businesses to have a choice in the matter.  History shows us time after time how well criminals respect “no guns allowed” signs.  So-called “gun-free zone” are completely worthless and ineffective in preventing the entrance of firearms unless there is a method of physically screening for weapons.  Airports, jails and courthouses do not have foolproof security, but at least there is a reasonable chance of preventing weapons from entering into those areas.  Posted signs, imaginary lines around school grounds and corporate policies cannot possibly stop someone intent on crime from bringing a gun inside a building or area.  Such restrictions only assure that the law-abiding person will be unarmed and defenseless while they are unfortunate to be inside a “gun-free” place.

3.  Any concealed carry bill should contain a mandatory training component.  Police are required to receive firearms instruction (52  hours according to Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney) before they are let loose on the streets with a gun.
I will not take up the space to repeat my response to those who call for mandatory firearms training.  See my previous post: http://gunsinwisconsin.blogspot.com/2011/05/should-wisconsin-require-mandatory.html
I will add a reminder however, that the concealed carry bills do not refer only to carrying concealed firearms, but to concealed weapons, including knives, clubs, and electric weapons (e.g., stun guns and other electro-shock weapons such as a Taser®.  It is possible that people who do not own a firearm, or who choose not to carry a gun, will carry a knife, expandable baton or other weapon concealed for their protection.  Why should such a person be required to undergo firearms instruction or to demonstrate firearms proficiency?  

4.  Out of regard for “officer safety” a database of concealed weapons permit holders should be created and made available to officers through DOT, so that when a vehicle is stopped an officer is alerted to that the vehicle owner has a concealed weapons permit.
I can only regard this argument as nothing more than a half-hearted attempt to impose one more costly, unnecessary and useless obstacle in the way of concealed carry.  It cannot seriously be tied to actual “officer safety.” 
Officers do not only approach or interact with people they have stopped in vehicles.  And when a vehicle is involved, such a database would tell an officer nothing about who is actually inside the vehicle, driver and passengers included.  It does not inform an officer whether a permit holder is currently carrying a weapon.  The database would inform the officer that the person to whom the vehicle is registered has a concealed weapons permit.  That does absolutely no good when the vehicle is a rental car, or a company-owned vehicle.  If a database indicates to an officer that the car is registered to a concealed weapons permit holder, how is an officer to react?  With greater caution?  Or with less caution?  After all, the officer was just informed that the owner of the car has no serious criminal history!  Would that not put them at greater ease?
No!  It will make absolutely no difference to any properly-trained police officer how they will approach a vehicle or how they will interact with those inside the vehicle.  Properly-trained officers-- and I personally know a number of them-- all state that they always assume that a person they approach, whether in a vehicle or on foot, is armed.  To do otherwise is foolish.  For these reason, there is no practical reason for the creation of DOT database for the sake of “officer safety.”

Note:  I would like to express appreciation to Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. for his testimony before the committee.  While Sheriff Clarke did call for licensing and training and higher penalties for carrying a concealed weapon (without a permit), he also said stated that those issues are secondary to the more important issue of enabling citizens to be able to provide for their own security by carrying concealed weapons.  The Sheriff reminded everyone of his opposition to past concealed carry bills.  But that has changed.  Violent crime has become such a serious threat to the citizens, that they must be given the ability to defend themselves.  Sheriff Clarke recounted a number of senseless murders in his county and stated an obvious truth—that the police cannot possibly be everywhere.  He believes the state has an obligation to its law-abiding citizens to give them the tools to be able to resist criminals.  I could not agree more.  Sheriff’s Clarke’s comments were well-received by the Committee, and I commend him for his open-mindedness and willingness to reconsider his previous opposition to concealed carry.