Making it evident that they are tired of being denied the right to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense, hundreds of Badger State residents attended hearings yesterday on the Personal Protection Act (PPA) in the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees. This degree of citizen participation is rarely seen by legislators, even in this age of controversy at the Capitol, and many took note.
The Senate Judiciary Committee met in Wausau and heard both Senate Bill 93, the "permitless carry" bill, and Senate Bill 90, the "shall-issue" license bill. The NRA testified in support of both bills. If each bill becomes law, citizens will have the option of carrying under either of the two systems, as described in the bill summary here.
The Assembly Criminal Justice Committee met in Madison and heard Assembly Bill 126, the companion to SB 90. Some of the most compelling testimony of the day came from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He described how he was an opponent of concealed carry until he began to see the effects of a violent crime wave on the citizens of his county. He realized that citizens really are the first line of defense against violent predators because his officers could not be everywhere all of the time. Sheriff Clarke asked the committee to allow citizens the most efficient and effective means of protecting themselves -- a concealed handgun. Many law enforcement officials throughout the state could learn from the Sheriff's example.
Consistent with standard practice, the committees did not vote on these bills. They will have executive sessions in the near future to do this and consider any potential amendments.
It is critical that you contact your state Senator AND state Representative and request that they support the PPA without any amendments that further restrict your right to self-defense or cause more difficulty in obtaining a license. Specifically, ask that they oppose a training mandate. As described here, this mandate will discriminate against those who most need personal protection -- low income minorities living in high crime urban areas.
To find contact information for your state Senator and state Representative, please click here.
We would also like to thank all of those who attended the NRA-ILA PPA seminars in Eau Claire, Richfield and Rothschild this week. The overflow crowd at all three events showed once again that Wisconsin NRA members are actively engaged in this fight for our natural right to self-defense.