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WISCONSIN: CONCESSIONS DON'T WORK


By Larry Pratt

February 29, 2004 
NewsWithViews.com

Legalization of a constitutional right to carry a concealed firearm will not happen for Wisconsin gun owners thanks to the governor's veto and the treachery of one of the measure's sponsors in the state House, Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing).

Sherman, having sponsored the bill when it was introduced in the House, was the single vote that killed the effort to override the governor's veto. Why Sherman would do this is perplexing since he comes from a district that voted over eight-to-one for adding language in 1998 to the Wisconsin constitution protecting the individual right to keep and bear arms. Perhaps he has planned to return to private life after the next election.

Sherman (and the others opposed to concealed carry) should be held to account for the murder of every unarmed victim in Wisconsin from now until the final passage of concealed carry legislation.

Assessment of what happened is needed before charging up the hill again.

Proponents of self-defense conducted themselves, in a word, as if they were on the defensive - even though they were trying to enact a bill!

SB 214 made enormous concessions to opponents of self-defense. The first and fatal concession was to offer a bill to let the state permit carrying concealed firearms. Next, decent citizens would have been forced to jump through onerous hoops before they could exercise their right of self defense. Proponents of self-defense were conceding that the state has the authority to determine who should be able to defend themselves.

The immorality of this assumption needs to be challenged at every opportunity. Those demanding state approval for self-defense must be made to defend themselves against the fundamental immorality of their program of state sponsored victimization.

Those who insist on regulating a fundamental natural right should also be made to explain why criminals are already carrying concealed firearms illegally. What happy knowledge do proponents possess to share with the rest of us as to why a law permitting, with many restrictions, the concealed carry of firearms will keep the bad guys from packing heat, when they presently could care less about the law?

As a practical matter, gun haters screamed just as loud when faced with a restrictive carry bill as they would have if faced with a bill that allowed for concealed carry with no restrictions. There are no in-between views in the anti-self-defense camp. All measures to empower citizen self-defense are libeled as leading to road rage shootouts and barroom bloodletting. Any gun in a private hand in the mind of the gun grabbers is a gun that will inevitably kill. The corollary for them is that only guns in government hands can be viewed as safe. Both are demonstrably false assumptions.

How America could enjoy a negligible murder rate for its first centuries without a police force (the first one was in 1835 in Boston), with a nearly universally armed populace, is something the socialist mindset will never understand. Fact of the matter is, police are still not involved in protection. There never will be enough of them to protect individual citizens.

If police officers do not trust their fellow citizens to be armed as are they, it would be better for those officers to find another line of work. After all, "We the People" are the boss over every government official. Any employee who thinks his boss is a lethal klutz should move to another company at once. Otherwise, don't complain when bad things happen. And don't run around bad-mouthing the boss while taking a check from him.

Wisconsin's Supreme Court has indicated that it might very well find the entire ban on concealed carry of firearms (still on the books) unconstitutional in view of the 1998 amendment overwhelmingly supported by the voters. This is a fair reading of its decision in the Hamdan case in which they overturned that part of the ban affecting Mr. Hamdan, who was carrying concealed on his own premises.

That would be the best possible outcome. Then pusillanimous legislators and the insulting opinion held by anti-self-defense proponents of their fellow citizens would amount to absolutely nothing.

What would happen if a case were to go to the Wisconsin Supremes and they were to leave Wisconsin without any concealed carry requirements to be administered by the state? In other words, what would happen if anybody in Wisconsin could carry a concealed firearm without the government's permission?

The answer is, criminals would be terrorized and Wisconsin's violent crime and murder rates would decline. The blood we would find running in the street would be that of criminals no longer able to rely on the legislators to protect them from armed citizens.

Wisconsin would then be the third state to empower its citizens to defend themselves - Vermont and Alaska having already preceded them by eliminating their restrictions on concealed carry. Of course, New Hampshire or Montana could be the next state if it takes too long for a case to reach the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a decision. The latter two states are considering joining Vermont and Alaska in the concealed carry freedom column.

Let us hope that the Wisconsin Supremes will soon be given the chance to get the government's hand out of the citizens' holsters. (It would be nice if government got its other hand out of the citizens' pocketbooks, too.)

Hopefully the day will come when Wisconsin pro-defense legislators will read (and take to heart) the message of retired California State Senator H.L. Richardson's book, Confrontational Politics. Many who have read the book contacted Gun Owners of America to say: "Now I understand why gun owners (and often, Republicans) keep losing." The book is free to any legislator interested in reading it. Anyone else can get it from the Bookstore on the Gun Owners of America web site: http://www.gunowners.org.

2004 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved


Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is:  http://gunowners.org. Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at: http://www.gunowners.org/radio.htm   E-Mail: ldpratt@gunowners.org


 

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"If police officers do not trust their fellow citizens to be armed as are they, it would be better for those officers to find another line of work. After all, "We the People" are the boss over every government official."