There is a telling chart on the Wikipedia article about concealed carry. It shows the steady progression of gun rights across the country over the last 25 years. In 1986, only a handful of states had "shall-issue" concealed carry laws, in which an individual is entitled to a concealed carry permit as long as he/she is not disqualified because of a legal issue etc. Since then, almost all have adopted "shall issue" laws, and others have gone farther, removing the permit process altogether.
Until 1995, concealed carry was not legal in Texas. That's right. Texas.
Regardless of your views on guns, I think everybody would benefit from a little perspective on the history of what many Americans insist is a right enshrined under the Constitution. The idea that restrictions on concealed carry and other gun activities make the founders toss in their graves is a relatively new interpretation of our national origins.
If concealed carry is such a no-brainer, why didn't Tommy Thompson get is passed when he had GOP legislative majorities in the 90's?
The NRA simply hadn't gotten to them yet. Wisconsin leaders hadn't been informed that 150 years of historical precedent in the Badger State was the scourge of liberty, or that their seats in the legislature were as good as gone if they didn't get an A+ rating from an organization that opposes even those restrictions that enjoy broad public support.
And the proposals Republicans are floating now reveal the extent of the gun lobby's influence. Legalize concealed carry, fine. But no training? No permitting process at all?
We're going to outgun Texas! Even the Lone Star state, which is in the process of allowing the carry of weapons in college classrooms, requires every concealed carrier to pass a basic training course. Why? The same reason we make somebody pass a driver's test before we let them handle a deadly weapon.
Cars are the deadliest weapons in America. Guns are second. Booze is probably third (often because of the first). Frankly, mandatory training on how to use all three of these would make Wisconsin a much safer place.
Follow The Sconz on Twitter or Facebook to get regular updates on city and state politics. Tune in to the radio show everyday between 10-11 a.m. on 1670 AM WTDY. Please send anonymous tips, interview requests or any other comments to email@example.com.