More good news coming out of Wisconsin. In a victory for the Second Amendment and the people of Wisconsin, the state Senate has overwhelmingly passed a bill that will allow citizens to carry concealed. The bill will now go through the state Assembly and then onto Governor Walker's desk for signature. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
The state Senate passed a concealed-carry measure by a 25-8 margin Tuesday, getting votes from all 19 Republicans and six Democrats, including Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee).
The measure now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass. It would then go to Gov. Scott Walker, who supports the bill.
"This is a great victory for the people of Wisconsin and for the 2nd Amendment," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said in a statement. "The right to protect ourselves by legally carrying a firearm is long overdue and I'm glad we're joining 48 other states with this law - finally."
The measure would require people to get training and permits to carry concealed weapons, after some Republicans earlier pushed a bill that would let people do so without training or permits.
Wisconsin and Illinois are the only states that have outright bans on carrying concealed weapons. Gun rights advocates for years have pushed allowing concealed weapons in Wisconsin, but they were thwarted by then-Gov. Jim Doyle or Democrats in the Legislature.
Under the bill, the state Department of Justice would have to issue permits to state residents 21 or over who got training and cleared background checks that showed they were not felons or otherwise prohibited from carrying guns.
Republicans have said the law is necessary to ensure people have the right to protect themselves, while many Democrats have decried the plan because they say it would make the public unsafe.
People with permits from other states could carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin as long as they had gone through training and a background check.
Under current law, guns are banned in schools, on school grounds and in school zones - the area 1, 000 feet beyond school grounds. The bill would keep in place the ban on carrying guns in schools and on school grounds, but would allow permit holders to carry guns in areas just off school grounds.
Lawmakers passed bills to allow concealed weapons in 2003 and 2005, but then-Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed them. From then until recently, Democrats were able to block such bills because they controlled at least one house of the Legislature.
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