Wisconsin is, by all accounts, a fairly modern state. They have interstate highways, running water, electricity, and the internet. But Wisconsin doesn’t have something that forty-six other states do: concealed carry.
Legislators in the Badger State are working to correct that. For the past few years, bills authorizing residents to carry concealed firearms for personal protection have come up in the Assembly. In fact, last session, the bill passed out of the legislature and ended up on the governor’s desk. But Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the bill, and the override attempt in the legislature ended up one vote short.
The current debate in Wisconsin features much of the same rhetoric we’ve seen over the past 20 years in places like Texas, Florida, and Ohio. The streets will be awash in blood. Crime will rise. Innocent women and children will be at risk in restaurants, playgrounds, and schoolyards. The only problem with that line of thought is that we can look at 46 other states and see that concealed carry laws have been implemented without any of those doomsday scenarios happening.
Since the argument that concealed carry leads to more crime is so easy to debunk, some anti-gun groups are challenging the law on other grounds. Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (or WAVE) says “concealed guns are generally a terrible self-defense tool and are hardly ever used to actually thwart burglaries or assaults.” Of course, the group can’t cite any statistics to bear out their assumption. I can, however, cite some statistics demonstrating the group’s argument is full of holes. In the 1992 FBI Uniform Crime report, a number of felons were surveyed about concealed carry. Of those interviewed, 34 percent were stopped by an armed citizen. 40 percent stated they decided not to commit a crime after fearing their would-be victim was armed. The FBI’s report also stated "Violent crime rates are highest overall in states with laws limiting or prohibiting the carrying of concealed firearms for self-defense."