WI: why it's so hard to get our CCW bill passed


January 7, 2006, 08:10 PM
I get emails and phone calls all the time from people asking why it's so hard to get concealed carry passed here.

While it's commendable (and valuable) that people call and write their legislators about the bill, and write rebuttals letters to the editor, it really boils down to pure politics.

With the amount of effort that the NRA, the WCCA, and other groups and individuals have put into the cause, we would have concealed carry now...if we had any governor other than Doyle, Democrat or Republican.

To understand what's happening, you must first understand that Governor Doyle is a True Believer in gun control. He's a product of Madison, having grown up there and been involved in Madison politics for years. During his twelve years as attorney general, he suggested bans on short-barrelled handguns, bans on certain shotguns, bans on "assault weapons," and even helped in the drafting of a bill that would have banned all ammunition except that designed for single-shot firearms.

You must also understand how Doyle works. An example: former state Senator Mark Meyer of LaCrosse, a very pro-gun district. Mark Meyer should have voted for the bill in 2003, if for no other reason than the amount of pressure that gun owners in his district were putting on him.

Instead, he voted against the bill, and then retired. And then Doyle appointed Meyer to be the director of the Public Service Commission, which oversees public utilities and their rates.

WE Energies sought and received from the Public Service Commission permission to increase their rates by a substantial margin.

This is the same Wisconsin Energies that gave massive amounts of money to Doyle's re-election campaign. So, the order of events is Meyer "no" vote>Meyer PSC appointment>WE Energies requesting rate increases>WE Energies giving lavishly to Doyle's campaign>PSC approving WE Energies request.

Here's another case study: former Representative Larry Balow from the Eau Claire area. There's a building in Altoona, outside of Eau Claire, called the "Altoona roundhouse." It's one of those railroad buildings where the locomotives are turned around.

The railroad wanted to tear the building down, but some community groups wanted it restored as a landmark. It was something of a cause 'celeb in the area.

Larry Balow voted for the CCW bill in the Assembly in 2002. But, in 2003, he voted against it. After Doyle found the money to rebuild the Altoona Roundhouse.

Then there's Representative Gary Sherman, who voted for the bill in 2002, signed on as a co-sponsor in June of 2003, voted for the bill in November of 2003, wrote articles in local newspapers supporting the bill, and then in February of 2004 voted to sustain Doyle's veto.

What did he get? Doyle's constant attention and support during Sherman's re-election campaign, with Doyle escorting him all over the state for fund-raisers.

What if Sherman had lost? The speculation--and it obviously is only speculation--is that Sherman would have been appointed to a state appeals court position, a $125,000+ position. Gary Sherman is a very accomplished attorney.

Right now we have two Assembly representatives who have voted for the bill in 2003, voted for the veto override in 2004, voted for the bill in 2005, but have not yet committed to voting for the veto override this year--Terry Van Akkeren of Sheboygan, and John Steinbrink of Kenosha. Both are being strong-armed by Doyle to vote against the veto override.

What will Doyle offer them? We'll only know if we lose.

After reading the press accounts about how former Senate Majority Leader Chuck Chvala extorted over a million dollars from lobbyists during his tenure, it ocurred to me that we might have been able to get our bill passed in 2002...if we had contributed something like $40,000 to Chvala's money-laundering group.

That's how the game is played. The exception is when there's a bill that has supporters inundating their legislators with phone calls, letters and emails. The gas tax indexing bill is a prime example: it wasn't even supposed to get a committee vote, until public pressure was so great that the Republican leadership relented, and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor. Even Governor Doyle felt the pressure to sign it, which he did.

And that's where we are now with concealed carry. Doyle will threaten, and possibly try to bribe, Van Akkeren and Steinbrink.

The only way to counter Doyle is to emulate what supporters of the gas tax bill did: call and write constantly.

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Old Fuff
January 7, 2006, 08:31 PM
Been there... Understand what you're saying.

Does Mr. Doyle have any national ambitions? V.P. for example? If so, we on the outside may be able to flood enough e-mail into his office with pointed references to that happened to their last two presidential candidates who supported gun control. If one looks at the Red-Blue map from the last two elections it becomes clear why the Democrats have becone a regional rather then national party at the highest levels, and that part of the reason is their stand on gun control issues.

He may be alble to kill your CCW bill, but when he does so, the fact will be used to club Democrats trying to win offices in the Red States that they need to take back if they are going to get anywhere. From the Republican's point of view, the radical/left Democrats in San Francisco have done them a great favor, and maybe Doyle is about to do so too.

Perhaps all of this wouldn't make any difference, but it should be brought to his attention... :evil:

January 7, 2006, 09:30 PM
I'm from Illinois so I know where you're coming from about bad governers. In a way I hate to see it come down to just saying he's the fault though. Its hard to override the veto, but if you have enough support and enough people calling their reps it is possible. I'd hate to see wisconsin residents quit calling and writing, and let it fall out out of the public's mind. I'm afraid the "we'll never get ccw because of our governor so why bother trying" is a problem we seem to have in Illinois. And actually its probably quite true given the recent veto overrides we failed to get pushed through here. I believe its important to not give up and not let the public or the reps forget about the issue though either way.

Standing Wolf
January 7, 2006, 09:37 PM
Thanks, Monkeyleg!

I didn't realize Wisconsin politics were quite that dirty.

January 7, 2006, 09:46 PM
And I'm in something of a quandry about it. It's a very big tossup about whether to treat Wisconsin (not my home, really; I moved here when I was 16) as another New Jersey, New York, or California, or to fight. The problem is that the whole mindset here seems taken from the "far left-ultra liberal" elite in Madison and Milwaukee, and what The People want gets ignored. Not that that surprises me, but still...

Should concealed carry fail to pass again, and if things not go good in any way that might cause the need for a different job (I work for the University, in a student position, valid only while I'm a student) then it's going to be a *real* tough sell to keep me here. At some point, one must cut their losses, and the high taxation, heavy-handed government, and socialist mindset here are getting me down.

January 8, 2006, 12:11 AM
Soybomb: "In a way I hate to see it come down to just saying he's the fault though. Its hard to override the veto, but if you have enough support and enough people calling their reps it is possible."

No, it's not Doyle 100%. What he orders the Democrat leaders in the senate and assembly to do, though, gets done.

Jon Erpenbach, minority leader in the senate, is also a Madison-area liberal, and no stranger to anti-gun causes.

In the Assembly, minority leader Rep. Kreuser is a real curiousity. He voted for the bill back in 2002. Now that he's in leadership, he's against it.

You're right, though: if enough people call and write, we can get this passed. The problem is getting those who aren't particularly interested in the concealed carry bill--hunters, trap shooters, plinkers, and other subsets of the gun community--to realize that a win for us is a win for all.

The vote is going to be so close that the anti-gunners have already begun laying out their strategy for a court challenge should we win.

For those involved in the fight: don't lose sight of the goal, and don't give up the fight. If we keep Van Akkeren and Steinbrink, we win. That simple.

As for Doyle's national ambitions: he has a face that was made for radio, not TV. He just doesn't have the TV persona to get beyond the office of WI governor.

Of course, neither did Ed Thompson, the third-party candidate in 2002. But Ed managed to siphon off enough votes from McCalllum that Doyle won.

McCallum had already promised--in blood--to sign our bill.

Thanks, Ed. I'll keep you in mind next time I see a third-party candidate on a major ticket. :barf:

cracked butt
January 8, 2006, 02:05 AM
--Terry Van Akkeren of Sheboygan, and John Steinbrink of Kenosha. Both are being strong-armed by Doyle to vote against the veto override.

Being a former Sheboygan resident, I can tell you that if Van Akkeren went against the gunnies there, his career would be finished. Sheboygan county has a very organized group of Sportsmans and shooting clubs and is very gun friendly. I believe that Joe Leibham's courting of sportsman's clubs help give him the needed edge to oust the well entrenched Baumgart. I don't know what Doyle could give that would be big enough to turn Van Akkeren .

January 8, 2006, 06:59 PM
cracked butt, Van Akkeren has already said that he has "concerns" about the bill, specifically that law enforcement would not have access to the list of permit holders when responding to calls such as domestic violence.

Of course, that argument is a red herring.

It's hard to fathom what Doyle might offer Van Akkeren, though. His previous elected experience was county supervisor from 1990-1992. His profession is a tool and die maker. So he really doesn't have any executive experience to qualify him to head some agency. And the senate would have to approve his appointment.

Doyle may give Van Akkeren extra-special help in his re-election bid, and there may be a promise of a committee chairmanship or other leadership position. That's what happened with Gary Sherman; he was made caucus chairman.

This is all very frustrating.

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