Is the Door Open for Concealed Carry in Wisconsin?
Challenges and opportunities in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on Chicago’s handgun ban
So does this
decision mean that Wisconsin’s
statute banning concealed weapons is going to be struck down?
to debate. The ban will most likely be challenged in state courts, Milwaukee
County District Attorney John Chisholm predicted. But the outcome is uncertain
because the Supreme Court did not rule on state and local restrictions on guns
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in Monday’s decision that reasonable laws preventing
the mentally ill and felons would not be affected by the Chicago handgun ban ruling.
That said, Wisconsin’s concealed
carry ban could be vulnerable.
Wisconsin Supreme Court’s most recent decision on concealed carry—in 2003, on
whether a business owner has the right to keep a concealed gun in his
store—upheld the ban. But it also showed that the Wisconsin
justices were concerned about the “overbreadth of the concealed carry statute
as a whole,” Chisholm said.
could be challenged in the courts.
said the state Legislature needs to develop a comprehensive gun reform package
that affirms Second Amendment protections but also includes regulations that
protect public safety. That could include background checks on all gun sales as
well as a concealed carry permitting system that makes concealed carry of a
firearm without a permit a felony. That would keep firearms out of the hands of
those who shouldn’t have guns—the mentally ill, minors and felons, for example.
“We need to
look at it as a comprehensive public safety package that would assure people
that their access and right to keep firearms isn’t going to be impinged in any
way and at the same time allows public safety officials a reasonable way of
preventing dangerous people from having firearms,” Chisholm said. “I still
argue it can be done.”
Bonavia, executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE),
argued that the Supreme Court decision doesn’t affect the state’s concealed
carry ban, which WAVE supports.
decision basically strikes down Chicago’s
handgun ban in homes,” Bonavia said. “But it didn’t go further than that. It
doesn’t eliminate or eliminate the possibility of any other types of gun
violence prevention or regulations.”
that those concerned about gun violence shouldn’t be disheartened by the
Supreme Court’s ruling.
“In some ways it’s beneficial to us because it takes the extremes off the table and the sides can’t be talking about either no guns or guns everywhere all the time,” Bonavia said. “Now maybe we can actually get to work on that middle ground where the vast majority of Americans think we should be anyway, and seriously talk about what we can be doing to prevent gun violence in an effective way that respects the Second Amendment as defined by the Supreme Court.”