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Issue Position: Gun Rights

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

"….the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." (Amendment II, US Constitution)

I believe in a Wisconsinite's right to carry a weapon for lawful purposes. The experience of the 48 other states that allow concealed show that the fears do not match reality. Allowing law abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon discourages crime and most certainly does not lead to an increase in gun crimes. Out of over 800,000 concealed carry licenses issued in the United States, only 146 have been revoked due to a crime. Law abiding citizens are not the problem. In Florida, the murder rate declined 41% since they passed a concealed carry law. In the 30 states that have passed similar laws, crime has gone down. From 1991 to 2002, these states cumulatively have seen crime decrease by 24%, murder by 22%, robbery by 37% and aggravated assault has declined by 20%.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in State v. Hamden, ruled that our current state laws are in conflict with our constitutional right to keep and bear arms for the lawful purpose of security. Justice Prosser stated that, "strict application of the statute effectively disallowed the reasonable exercise of Hamden's constitutional right to keep and bear arms for the lawful purpose of security." The Court went on to encourage the legislature to "consider the possibility of a permit system for persons who have a good reason to carry a concealed weapon."

The courts will be forced to reconcile this conflict between our constitution and our statutes if the legislature does not. The constitution trumps the statutes. The courts will be unable to prescribe a comprehensive remedy -- only the legislature can.

The worst fears of the opponents of concealed carry have not come true in any other state and I do not believe that Wisconsinites are any less responsible.

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