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NRA-backed “Right-to-Carry” legislation disastrous for Milwaukee’s urban safety

“This NRA-backed bill is a step forward for freedom-loving Americans. There is no reason why law-abiding citizens should have to pay fees and fill out paperwork to exercise their rights.” – Scott Rausch, NRA-ILA Wisconsin state liaison

Concealed weapons could be carried in Wisconsin without a permit under a “right-to-carry” bill headed to the state Senate. The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted 3-2 along party lines to pass the measure. Current state law requires anyone who carries a concealed weapon to obtain a permit and get training.

Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement regarding State Senate Bill 169, Allowing Concealed Carry without Permits:

I strongly disagree that Wisconsin needs to completely walk away from the 2011 concealed carry law that required individuals to get a permit before being allowed to carry a concealed weapon. I recognize public safety is of paramount concern for us all. That’s why I’m asking the legislature for a dedicated revenue stream to fund and maintain our police strength level. At the same time, citizens and the legislature are expecting more and more of our police department.

In 2016, the Milwaukee Police Department recovered 2,419 guns off City streets. That’s 406 guns per 100,000 residents and more than Chicago (246 guns per 100,000 residents), Philadelphia (253 per 100,000 residents) and New York City (44 guns per 100,000 residents). Between January 1, 2017 and September 18, 2017, Milwaukee police have recovered 2,015 firearms; 1,744 (87%) have been recovered as evidence or used in a major crime and we still have four months to go in the calendar year.

The total number of gun recoveries has increased 39% compared to the same timeframe in 2011 (1,447 to 2,015). Since 2007, arrests for felons in possession of a firearm have increased 39 percent and total gun arrests have increased 29 percent. Easy access to deadly firearms and the crimes committed with those weapons is a major public safety concern for citizens and policer officers and a strain on City resources. I respectfully ask the full State Senate, the Assembly and the Governor to say “no” to Senate Bill 169.

Alderman Khalif J. Rainey released the following statement regarding State Senate Bill 169, Allowing Concealed Carry without Permits:

In Milwaukee we have a major problem with deadly weapons that have been used to kill and maim far too many people – including an increasing number of children – over the past several years. The video from this past weekend near N. 23rd and W. State showing a man spraying bullets from a machine gun ended with a man dead and chillingly shows the problem I am referring to.

So someone please tell me why the state Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted 3-2 yesterday in favor of making it easier for people to carry deadly weapons without any training or licensing requirements.

Current state law requires anyone carrying a concealed weapon to obtain a permit and complete training. The so-called “right-to-carry” bill passed by the committee yesterday (and headed as early as next month for a vote by the full Senate) retains that license for people who want to obtain it, but also allows for the carrying of a concealed weapon without obtaining a permit. Additionally, the proposal also would allow for the carrying of concealed firearms in — or within five feet of — a vehicle on school property. Concealed weapons could be brought onto school grounds when there are no classes or activities happening at the school and only licensed concealed weapons holders could bring them onto school grounds under these terms.

And it gets worse: The bill would also remove the current prohibition on possession of electric weapons, also known as Tasers. Those weapons are allowed under current state law only for people with concealed license permits; the bill would allow anyone to have them.

I have a very hard time trying to understand why anyone would want to make it easier for people to carry deadly weapons – period. I doubt the drafter/s of this legislation consulted with any elected officials from Milwaukee as to the need for such changes to state law (they certainly did NOT consult with me). I strongly encourage the Senate and all state lawmakers to vote against this ill-conceived proposal.

Alderman Cavalier Johnson released the following statement regarding State Senate Bill 169, Allowing Concealed Carry without Permits:

A dangerous and reckless piece of legislation was passed out of the state’s Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee yesterday without regard for the impact on residents living in Wisconsin’s urban areas. The proposed “right to carry” legislation allows concealed weapons to be carried without obtaining a permit. Plus, it legalizes the carrying of concealed firearms in — or within five feet of — a vehicle on school property. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it also removes the prohibition on possession of electric weapons like Tasers, which currently requires a concealed license permit.

For far too long, state lawmakers in rural districts have had on blinders, creating laws that only work for their region of the state, without considering the impacts of these laws on urban areas. Our police force is already struggling to keep illegal guns off the street. This legislation, which could be voted on by the full State Senate as early as next month, only adds gasoline to a fire here in Milwaukee.

If you need proof of what I’m talking about, look up a video of a shooting this past weekend near N. 23rd and W. State showing a man spraying bullets from an AK-47—it ended with a deceased male victim. It’s time for responsible legislation from Madison. I ask lawmakers in our state’s capitol to consider that 2,419 guns were seized from criminals in Milwaukee last year alone. That’s a rate of 406 guns for every 100,000 residents in our city according to Milwaukee’s Police Department. Consider that, per capita, the number of firearms seized off of Milwaukee’s streets was more than New York City.

While rural state lawmakers may have been elected by their district, the laws they create affect everyone. I ask the state senate to vote against this proposal for the sake of Milwaukee residents who are already struggling with gun violence.

Alderman Michael J. Murphy released the following statement regarding State Senate Bill 169, Allowing Concealed Carry without Permits:

Proposed state legislation in Madison that would make it easier for individuals to carry deadly concealed weapons is probably one of the worst bills I have seen in years. The proposal – allowing concealed weapons to be carried without obtaining a permit and on school property under certain conditions – even includes a provision that removes the prohibition on possession of electric weapons like Tasers, which currently require a concealed license permit.

The bill was passed by the Wisconsin Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday and could come up for a vote by the full Senate next month. It is my hope this legislation dies in the Senate. If it does not, Governor Walker should veto this bill.

While the state budget was languishing and is finally headed for the Governor’s desk – later than anyone can remember in recent history – certain members of the Legislature were busy cooking up this “right to carry” proposal that likely no one, except for a few special interests, asked for.

It is irresponsible lawmaking at its worst and puts citizens and law enforcement officers in danger by those who might not otherwise use a deadly concealed weapon but who now feel emboldened to carry one in public. Milwaukee and other urban centers across the state deserve better legislation than this ridiculous proposal. I urge citizens to contact state Senate members and urge them to reject the “right to carry” legislation.

About The Author

Staff

With various editorial projects in our production pipeline, this is our general attribution for credit when a single individual is not specifically attached by name. It is a catch-all author, used when several staff collaborate to report the single news story.

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