Concealed handgun vote in Wisconsin today

The headline on this piece implies that there will not be enough votes in today's vote in Wisconsin on concealed handguns to overcome the governor's veto. My own reading is more optimistic. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more Democrats who voted to sustain a veto just to keep the issue from becoming an election issue next year. If the bill doesn't pass now, my guess is that the NRA will make Wisconsin a major focus of its election efforts next fall and since most Democrats oppose the bill (including the governor), they have the most to lose.

. . . The bill permits a person to carry a concealed weapon, except where prohibited, if the person holds a license to carry a concealed weapon. The state Department of Justice would design application and renewal forms and decide whether an applicant is qualified to receive a permit or whether a permit should be suspended. An applicant must display a valid driver's license or state ID card to a notary before submitting the application, must take a firearm training class and must not have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors within the preceding three years. A person may not carry a concealed weapon if his or her alcohol concentration exceeds 0.08.

The bill was amended to allow police and troopers making traffic stops to have access to the names of those who have gun carry permits before they approach the vehicle, so they would know if someone might have a weapon.

Changes also were made to add to the list of places where concealed weapons could not be taken. The bill originally listed police stations, jails and courthouses. A substitute amendment added licensed child care centers, a building used for religious worship, a health-related facility, a building located on a college campus, a nonprofit organization that serves children or families, and a domestic violence victim services program.

Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, the author of the bill in the Assembly, is optimistic.

"The Senate certainly did what we expected, voting 23 to 10 for the bill. We expect it to be the same for the override," Gunderson said. Twenty-two votes would be the required two-thirds for a veto override.

He added that he hopes Sen. Luther Olson, R-Ripon, will also support the override, though he voted against the bill last week. Last year Olsen was one of two Republican Assembly members, along with John Townsend, R-Fond du Lac, who switched votes to support the override after opposing the bill.

"In the Assembly we are working very hard and hoping for 66 votes, the magic number for an override. We came a long way with some of the changes we made. We are very close to having it become law in Wisconsin," Gunderson predicted. . . .


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