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Wisconsin: Personal Protection Act Goes to Senate and Assembly Floors

Thursday, June 9, 2011

After more than a decade of work to secure the right to carry concealed handguns for self-defense in Wisconsin, success is finally within reach.  The NRA supported Senate Bill 93, the Personal Protection Act (PPA), as it was amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The amended bill, sponsored by state Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), allowed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed without a license for self-defense in the same manner as is available to the citizens of four other states.  It also included the option of obtaining a concealed weapons license, for those who must pass through school zones or who want to be able to carry a firearm for self-defense while traveling in a number of other states through reciprocal agreements.

After tireless work in support of this bill - that provided the best of all worlds - it became evident that the necessary votes in both the Assembly and Senate could not be obtained.  Today, the Joint Finance Committee adopted a substitute amendment that changes SB 93 to one of the most streamlined and rights-protecting concealed carry license systems in the country. 

It is not the ideal system, but it is undeniably an enormous first step toward restoring the essential personal freedoms that were stripped from Wisconsinites more than a century ago.  Under the newly amended bill, Wisconsin will finally join 47 others that issue concealed weapons licenses.  Of course, Vermont allows citizens to carry concealed but does not issue licenses.  Illinois will be left as the last remaining, obstinate hold-out.

Some of the key provisions of the amended PPA include:

- License issued to Wisconsin residents at least 21 years-old who submit a completed application (no fingerprints), pass the same background check required of firearm purchasers, pay a total fee of $50 and provide proof of training using the time-tested Florida training model.

- Department of Justice (DOJ) is to issue or deny licenses within 21 days.  Licenses are valid for five years.

- Training requirement is satisfied by completing a firearms safety class taught by an instructor certified by a state or national organization that certifies instructors or by completing a hunter education program.  Exemptions for those who have served in the military and law enforcement or who have held carry licenses issued by other states are available.

- Protects the personal privacy of licensees.

- Allows all licensees, including employees, to keep their handguns locked in their private motor vehicle while on properties that otherwise prohibit concealed carry.

- Allows those citizens who choose to exercise their right to openly carry handguns in public to continue to carry in the same manner while in their motor vehicles.  If there is any single place that these citizens should always be allowed to carry, it is in their own “mobile castles.”  Also, this provision eliminates the requirement that citizens load or unload their firearms in a public setting each time they exit and enter their vehicles.  A holstered firearm is a safe firearm.

Floor votes on SB 93 are expected next week!  It is now time to make your voice heard one more time in this long battle to secure your freedoms.  No matter how many times you have contacted your state legislators in the past, you must do so again.  Contact your state Representative and state Senator and ask them if they support SB 93.  If they do, thank them.  If they do not, explain to them why they should.  It is also essential that you tell them to reject all of the many hostile amendments that will be offered by self-defense opponents on the floor! 

To contact your legislators, you can call the Legislative Hotline at 800-362-9472 or you can click here and find individual contact information for your state Senator and state Representative. 

YOUR FREEDOM IN THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON YOUR ACTION TODAY!

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