This is a repost of one I made April 6, 2007. I think it expresses where many of us are coming from.
Concealed Carry or Open carry in Wisconsin?
Article 1 chapter 25:
The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.
Article 1 chapter 26:
The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.
No political subdivision may enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possesion, bearing, transportation, licensing. permitting, registration, or taxation of any firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same or similar to and no more stringent than, a state statute.
State v Hamdan (2003):
The supreme court held that not withstanding Article 1 chapter 25 the state has the authority to regulate the manner of carry of firearms therefore the concelaed carry prohibition statute 941.23 was constitutional. The Court also said there were two manners of carry, visible and hidden. The court also declared that if the state intends to prosecute against one manner of carry it must provide for a resonable alternative or yield to the ammendment. The court said that if a person is carrying a firearm for a lawful purpose the burden is on the state to prove it was carried for an unlawful (criminal) purpose. Note: This would tend to "shoot down" the disorderly conduct theory.
State v Hamdan (2003)
The State prosecuters argued that if Hamdan had been wearing his firearm in a holster (visible) he would not have been charged. Governor Doyle was Attorney General at that time and a member of the prosecution.
Governor Doyle's comment as recorded by the Wisconsin Dells Events paper dated March11 2006:
"If you want to carry a gun. Wear it on your hip".
What is significant about the above information?
First:They all support in various degrees the right to open carry firearms in the state of Wisconsin.
Second: They destroy the local ordinance "disorderly conduct" theory. The State doesn't consider the peaceful carry of a firearm as disorderly conduct, therefore, statute 66.0409(2) prohibits local political subdivisions from doing so.
Third: They are all relatively new. All happened after 1995.
Fourth: In regards to open carry they may in combination endow the citizens of Wisconsin with the most liberal firearm carry and ownership rights in the nation.
So, Open carry or concealed carry? What are the pros and cons?
The pros and cons as I see them.
Open carry pros:
. No license requirements. No costly certification requirements. No renewal requirements, Few retricted locations.
1. You can't carry in a school zone unless you live there or are conducting a training class where firearms are required.
2. You can't open carry a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle. 167.31(2)(b).
3. You can't open carry in a goverment building. 941.235.
4. You can't carry a loaded firearm in a place that sells on sale alcohol.
Open carry cons:
No background checks.
Open carry personal restrictions:
A person with a handgun must be of legal age. Must not be a convicted felon. Must not be charged with domestic abuse or violence.
Concealed carry pros:
Concealed carry cons: (Information from recently failed Personal Protection Act)
License requirement ($75). Certification classes ($150 - $300). Renewal requirement. Numerous restrictions on carry locations. Carry restrictions at proprietor discretion. Discriminates based on ability to pay.
Concealed carry personal restrictions.
Must be 21 years of age. Must not be a convicted felon. Must not be charged with domestic abuse or violence. Must have a CCW license. Must have evidence of certification training.
There is no doubt in my mind that the information I cited at the beginning of this post establishes the free right of Wisconsin citizens to open carry firearms for their personal protection. Unfortunately under current social environment doing so would probably make the general public uneasy. I have to admit I would myself feel uneasy if I saw a large number of people walking around with firearms on their hips. That is the one thing concealed carry has going for it "Out of sight. Out of mind." I would not object to some reasonably priced and restricted concealed weapon privilege for those who wish to obtain a permit. I would only accept it on the conditions that it is written as a priviledge and not a right (For example: A drivers license gives one the privlege to drive. Not the right to drive). A privlege may have a price associated with it however, our constitutional rights are priceless. The other condition I have is that a concealed carry statute in no way pre-empts or restricts our current right to open carry. I will in no way sell out my rights just to get on the concealed carry band wagon. I have too many relatives that gave their lives fighting for our rights.
There is one thing that any movement or comittee that intends to resurect the concealed carry initiative should keep in mind. The road to tyranny is built one brick at a time.
The now deceased Personal Protection Act was championed by a number of well meaning, very dedicated individuals that spent many years shedding blood, sweat, tears and dollars.trying to get concealed carry passed. a movement that started before the ammendments and statutes I referenced above were made into law. Unfortunately they were too close to the issue and never stepped back to see what was happening to our firearm laws right under their noses. They were so obsessed and certain of winning that they gave up too many concessions in order to win political support and they were so sure of winning they refused to "upset the apple cart"and modify the bill. I know. I had numerous conversations with WCCA, Rep Gunderson's man Mike Bruhn and Senator Zien on the subject.
By not recognizing the significance of the changes our firearm rights were going through it's my opinion they made the tactical error of not playing the Open vs Concealed card. I think that if many of the political opponents were faced with the choice between many people walking around with visible firearms with few restrictions and people carrying concealed firearms with numerous restrictions they would have chosen the later and the governor's veto would have been easily overridden.