My name is [xxxx], and I've been a constituent in your district since 1993. As a graduate of the Political Science department at UW-Madison, I believe myself to be an informed and educated voter. I consider myself a libertarian, and I've long admired your stance on civil liberties and the pursuit of a more equal Wisconsin.
The issue of concealed carry is about to come before the Assembly, and I understand that in the past you've voted against similar measures. I'm writing to ask you to reconsider this stance. Look beyond political expediency and the expectations of your party. We live in a society which is becoming more complex and intertwined with each passing decade. There was a time when everyone in a community knew each other, and the enforcement of societal norms meant ostracizing those that didn't obey the rules. This was an incredibly effective means of keeping communities orderly, but modern life has too many nooks and crannies to hide in.
Over the past 4 decades, we've seen the emergence and strengthening of whole societies which revolve around criminality - living right amongst us. Our grandparents would be shocked to see that there are neighborhoods that actively embrace criminal behavior, not just as an inconvenient fact, but as virtue in and of itself.
The government response to a society which escalates its lawlessness has been to write more laws and project ever-increasing force. This has been embodied in the War Against Drugs, the Patriot Act and enacting "truth in sentencing" laws. All of these measures have proven to be shockingly expensive, and dismally ineffective. Force projection is unsustainable and unsuitable - it doesn't reflect reality on the street.
As long winded as this may be, I'd like to return to my original narrative where a more intimate society policed itself through interconnectedness. This worked because anti-social elements of society were surrounded by people who were able to enforce norms through their every-day presence. In the founding days of Wisconsin, criminals thought twice about breaking into a home not because a constable might ride by and catch them in the act but because the homeowner most likely had a muzzle-loader and wouldn't be shy about holding that criminal accountable.
Concealed carry represents a return to that ethic that society has a duty to police itself and enforce standards of civility. Criminals, by their very nature, do not comply with laws. Prohibiting law-abiding citizens from carrying the means to protect themselves simply hands an advantage to that criminal element, and we've seen the expression of that on the streets of Madison, WI. I read the Madison Police Department press releases regularly, and criminals are boldly approaching their victims, visiting bodily harm upon them, and then strolling away consequence free.
We can either continue the same mentality of force projection as society continues to become more dense and interwoven, or we can recognize that good citizens are willing to take the responsibility upon themselves to protect and serve their community.
I use the word responsibility, because the choice to carry is to take a burden upon yourself. It opens the doors of liability and criminal responsibility in the case of poor judgment. Most advocates of concealed carry are cognizant of these burdens, and still say that they'd choose to carry that burden to help make our communities a safer place to live. Isn't this the very nature of good citizenship?
Fears of "shootouts at the OK corral" haven't been borne out in the 48 states which have adopted concealed carry legislation. What they have found is an undeniable correlation between percentage of those who carry and reduction in violent crime. I'd like to clarify what I mean by that statistic. It's not good enough that a State provide a mechanism to carry - some states restrict it so heavily as to make it impossible for the majority of citizens. But the statistics bear out that states with higher percentages of individuals carrying have lower rates of violent crime.
That's why I encourage you to support a concealed carry bill with minimal restriction and licensing provisions. The arguments against are based in fear rather than rationality - and isn't that the same trait we reject in our political opponents when it comes to gay marriage, immigration, civil rights legislation, etc? They bring irrational arguments of improbably outcomes to scare us away from an improved society. I implore you to give this due consideration.