Right-to-carry gun bill clears Wisconsin Senate committee

MADISON — A Wisconsin Senate committee has passed a bill that would allow for the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit.

The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted 3-2 along party lines Tuesday to pass the measure. It now heads to the full Senate, which could take it up next month.

Current state law requires anyone who carries a concealed weapon to obtain a permit and get training.

But the bill would do away with the license requirement for someone who wanted to carry a hidden weapon.

The measure would have to pass the Senate and Assembly, and be signed by Gov. Scott Walker, before becoming law. Walker has said he was comfortable with the current system requiring permits to carry concealed weapons, but he hasn’t said whether he would sign the bill into law.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued the below statement:

“I strongly disagree that Wisconsin needs to completely walk away from the 2011 concealed carry law that required individuals to get a permit before being allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

I recognize public safety is of paramount concern for us all. That’s why I’m asking the legislature for a dedicated revenue stream to fund and maintain our police strength level.

At the same time, citizens and the legislature are expecting more and more of our police department.

In 2016, the Milwaukee Police Department recovered 2,419 guns off City streets.  That’s 406 guns per 100,000 residents and more than Chicago (246 guns per 100,000 residents), Philadelphia (253 per 100,000 residents) and New York City (44 guns per 100,000 residents).

Between January 1, 2017 and September 18, 2017, Milwaukee police have recovered 2,015 firearms; 1,744 (87%) have been recovered as evidence or used in a major crime and we still have four months to go in the calendar year.

The total number of gun recoveries has increased 39% compared to the same timeframe in 2011 (1,447 to 2,015). Since 2007, arrests for felons in possession of a firearm have increased 39 percent and total gun arrests have increased 29 percent.

Easy access to deadly firearms and the crimes committed with those weapons is a major public safety concern for citizens and policer officers and a strain on City resources.

I respectfully ask the full State Senate, the Assembly and the Governor to say “no” to Senate Bill 169.”