Wisconsin Bill Seeks To Lower Age For Concealed Carry

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

While the right to bear arms isn’t supposed to be infringed, it has been. A lot. One of the tools used to get back at least some semblance of our right to bear arms is concealed carry laws. While constitutional carry is the ideal, concealed carry is as good as it gets for some of us.

Further, while constitutional carry is still the ideal, anything that expands concealed carry is a good thing.

Take this bill from Wisconsin.

Republican lawmakers are introducing new legislation that would decrease restrictions on firearms in Wisconsin by lowering the age to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon to 18 and allowing permit holders to have guns in vehicles on school grounds.

Both bills being circulated by Republican lawmakers for sponsorship in the state Legislature in recent weeks have been proposed before and likely will face hurdles under Gov. Tony Evers, who has said he supports the law as it’s currently written.

Rep. Shae Sortwell, R-Two Rivers, said in an interview the bill to lower the age to obtain a concealed carry permit from 21 to 18 follows a recent federal appeals court ruling that said prohibitions on selling handguns to Americans under 21 violates the Second Amendment.

“The (ruling) made it pretty clear you can’t make arbitrary laws that say one adult does not have the same rights as other adults,” Sortwell said.

A divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, said July 13 that a 1968 law that banned the sale of handguns to people under 21 years old but permitted the sale of shotguns and rifles to those same people was an arbitrary restriction that put 18- to 20-year-olds in second-class status under the Second Amendment. The decision is likely to be appealed and may reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sortwell sees Wisconsin’s concealed-carry law that was implemented in 2011 and requires permit-holders to be 21 as having similar problems.

“Individuals who are old enough to legally own and possess a handgun are also old enough to obtain a concealed-carry permit, and it is our obligation as the state legislature to ensure equality before the law,” Sortwell wrote in a memo to colleagues seeking support for the legislation.

“If this is about self defense, why should my 18-, 19-, 20-year-old daughter be more at risk to criminals than my 21-year-old daughter?” he said in an interview last week.

I do not disagree.

The age limits on firearms, as they currently exist, tell legal adults in this country that while they’re adults and can be conscripted for war, they’re not really adult-adults. After all, they don’t have all of their rights, just a few we’ve decided to let them have. (Pro-tip: When you let someone have a right, it’s called a “privilege.”)

By lowering the age for concealed carry, what this bill tries to do is to fix past wrongs.

Of course, there’s opposition. There’s always opposition. Some will oppose anything gun owners want just on general principle. I mean, Moms Demand Action went nuts over free permits.

Yet these kinds of bills are the right thing to do. Hell, even without the court ruling, they were the right thing to do since 18-year-olds could still own handguns, they just couldn’t buy them. Inheriting them or receiving them as gifts are legal ways people under 21 could get a firearm, yet under current law, they can’t carry them.

That’s simply not right and it’s well past time to see this change.

I’m glad to see it.