Lawmakers Gut Gun Safety in Concealed Carry

Lawmakers in Wisconsin who recently passed the State’s first concealed carry gun law just a few months ago now have gutted a key provision of the measure aimed at ensuring gun safety.

Yesterday, Republicans on the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules eliminated a rule written by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a fellow Republican, suspending the requirement for the four hours of training with a 7-3 vote, one Democrat, Senator Lena Taylor, joining them.

As it was, any law-abiding idiot could begin carrying a concealed weapon in public with just four hours of training in how to safely carry and fire the weapon. Now, the change will permit those taking advantage of the new law to skip any instruction entirely and merely obtain a paper certificate.

Struggles For Justice defends all ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. That includes the right of citizens to bear arms as at the core of the Second Amendment.

Even rights must be exercised responsibly. Wisconsin requires ten hours of Hunter Safety Training for hunters and it has worked well in limiting injuries and fatalities among sportsmen and sportswomen.

If anything, Wisconsin’s new concealed carry law should have simply transferred the Hunter Safety Program into a statewide program for all gun owners.

In a year that began with the horrific shooting at an Arizona shopping mall that killed people and gravely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, we ought to be able to see the advantage of concealed carry but we also must see its liabilities when not paired with significant gun safety training and screening individuals seeking permits.

Not only should the sheep be separated from the goats here by cutting out the convicted felons and violent offenders or people suffering from mental illness from the law-abiding and healthy, but those people however long they have had guns need to demonstrate they know gun safety and are clear about how they will carry a gun and potentially use it and how they will store that weapon and secure it when not in use.

Law enforcement officers are not keen on having more people carrying firearms on the streets as it is. What they don’t need are trigger happy individuals who place themselves, other citizens, and the officers themselves at greater risk.

Being able to know how to safely carry a weapon, safely secure and maintain it, and how to use it in that rare instance when personal safety or that of another is in play takes more than a piece of paper.

Wisconsin has passed both a concealed carry law and a deadly force bill just this year. The good common sense possessed by so many people in Wisconsin has deserted a majority of the committee concerned with reviewing this administrative rule.

We don’t just let people drive a car by obtaining a piece of paper, another deadly device, and police don’t skip training in how to shoot, and to learn how to maintain and secure their weapons, and to recognize what to do in an emergency that might call for the use of deadly force. Citizens becoming trigger happy and not being skilled in hitting what they are aiming at or knowing a situation would be made more dangerous by use of a weapon will not make us more safe.

We recall a race riot in Memphis, Tennessee in the spring of 1866 in which 38 African-Americans were slaughtered: men, women, and children, by a group of armed white vigilantes. Fifty homes and churches and schools were burned. But two white men died. Not from a single shot in return from black people but one man shot himself by mishandling his pistol, and another shot a friend that he did not see was in his line of fire.

We don’t suggest any more race riots in America here. But we do know that gun safety instruction is essential for people new to guns who may take advantage of concealed carry. And even those who are long-time gun owners who grew up around guns would benefit by a safety refresher to examine again those things good parents taught them about being safe with guns.

This committee overseeing administrative rules on newly passed legislation ought to revisit this decision and align the new law with the Hunter Safety Program, that has proven itself so successful in aiding sportsmen for so long in Wisconsin. Those of us who are mere passers-by on the streets, in stores, churches, hospitals, schools, the State house itself are entitled to know people packing a weapon know how to use it and know how and when not to.

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