Last week, a disturbing proposal, LRB 2039, emerged in Madison that, if enacted, would dismantle Wisconsin’s permit requirement for carrying concealed handguns. Dismantling this permit requirement would lower the bar for who may carry concealed handguns in public in Wisconsin, and allow people with no safety training to carry hidden, loaded handguns in crowded town centers and on city streets.
To understand just how dangerous permitless carry would be, look no further than the growing number of law enforcement leaders speaking out against this proposal.
Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas expressed his displeasure with this bill, stating that “Legislation like this, in a time when we continue to see random and impulsive acts of mass murder like we experienced this past week in the Wausau area, only makes Wisconsin less safe.”
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association says his group opposes LRB 2039, “Our elected leadership of officers from around the state overwhelmingly opposes an expansion of the law which eliminates the need for any kind of training whatsoever. Having some training component is a benefit to both public safety and officer safety.”
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has decried this trend, calling the bill “insane” and complaining, “we are doing everything we can to make sure our criminals have unfettered access to high-quality firearms and get to carry them in record numbers. There are more guns out there every year.”
Police officers understand that Wisconsin gun laws shouldn’t be an opportunity to score political points with the gun lobby. While no law can stop every crime, these officers know the permitting requirements in place help them protect our communities. In fact, so far no one from the law enforcement community in the state has endorsed LBR 2039.
The overwhelming number of Wisconsinites understand this, too. Recent polling conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Wisconsin chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America shows overwhelming support for Wisconsin’s law that requires a person who wants to carry a concealed handgun to first obtain a permit and complete safety training. In fact, 91 percent of respondents – including 86 percent of gun owners – said they support the current Wisconsin law. The poll results are available here.
Lawmakers in red and blue states, of both political parties, oppose permitless carry, as we have seen this legislative session with permitless carry stopped in eight states so far.
Elected officials should listen to the resounding voices of law enforcement on this issue and prevent LRB 2039 from becoming law. The fact that so many law enforcement leaders have opposed this proposal underlines the risks posed by this irresponsible bill.
More information about LRB 2039 is available here.