Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker
In a Nov. 2 interview with Human Events, the Badger State governor said he has no concerns with the concealed carry law on the day after it went into effect.
“We are making Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens,” said Gov. Scott K. Walker, the Republican who took office Jan. 3, 2011.
Wisconsin is a late starter, and only following a precedent set by states all others, he said.
“On this issue, we are actually following the lead of 48 other states who have some form of concealed carry,” he said.
The response from Wisconsin citizens has been overwhelmingly positive, he said. “Contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice for details, but news reports have shown that 80,000 people downloaded applications for the permit yesterday.”
Wisconsin has a population of 5,654,774 according to the Census Bureau, so nearly 1.5 percent of Badgers have already applied for permits within the first day. If requests were to continue at that rate, within a month nearly a third of Wisconsin’s citizens will have applied for permits.
Erich M. Pratt, the communications director for Gun Owners of America, said studies and real-life examples show the concealed carry law will make Wisconsin safer.
“I think one of the classic cases of this is the state of Florida. They were the first in this wave of shall-issue carry states. In 1987 they passed the law. The opponents said, ‘This is gonna be a disaster, the Sunshine State is gonna become the Gunshine State,’ you know, all these Chicken Little claims,” he said.
The murder rate in Florida dropped from twice the national average to about the national average after the concealed carry law went into effect, he said.
“Even one of the chief opponents of the bill, Rep. Rob Silver, admitted that he’d been wrong,” he said.
“It’s always a bad thing when potential victims are disarmed and they’re turned into mandatory victims by gun laws that prevent them from protecting themselves; and so like the other 48 states in the country, this is gonna be a good thing,” Pratt said.
This new concealed carry law does not provide all the freedoms that some gun-rights advocates had wanted, according to a statement released Nov. 1by the Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc.
Wisconsin Gun Owners had lobbied for a constitutional carry law that would not require permits to carry concealed, according to the statement.
“While some groups jumped on the constitutional carry bandwagon earlier this year when everyone assumed the newly-controlled legislature could easily pass it, many of these individuals or groups have become suspiciously quiet on the issue lately, and seem happy to accept Wisconsin’s new concealed carry by permit law as a permanent inevitability,” they said.
The group has vowed to continue into Phase II, fighting for constitutional carry for everyone who does not have a criminal record or other disqualifying factor—even though the traditional gun lobby has heaped scorn upon the group, they said.
“Most of the Republicans in our state legislature are rabid anti-gun extremists who hate Constitutional Concealed Carry,” according to their May 10 statement.
WGO’s website, has a petition pro-gun activists can sign encouraging the state of Wisconsin to remove restrictions on law-abiding citizens with firearms.
The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort has put forth their own anti-gun petition, according to their website.
“A society that encourages its citizens to be armed is one that is choosing to shine a spotlight on the worst aspects of human nature – fear, distrust, hatred,” according to the petition.
Numerous studies show that allowing more people to carry guns will cause more crime, they said.
WAVE’s home page cites a study by Dana Loomis, PhD, et al, who concluded workplaces that allow guns have a seven-fold increase in worker homicides.
The researchers had no information on whether or not those homicides actually occurred with workers’ guns, according to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
“The findings suggest that policies allowing guns in the workplace might increase workers’ risk of homicide,” according to the study.
Aaron Popky, a spokesman for the Greenbay Packers, said the team will keep the ban on weapons at Lambeau Field, which is still the right of every business under the new law.
“We simply maintain the ban that we already have in place,” he said. “So we’ve had a ban here at Lambeau for some time, and what we simply did was maintain that ban.”
Popky said he does not believe the ban will change over the next few years, even if the concealed carry law works well.