Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


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CommonSense
February 9, 2004, 09:34 PM
http://www.jsonline.com/news/nobits/feb04/205590.asp

Sunday Symposium
Gun debate: Armed with arguments
From Journal Sentinel readers
Posted: Feb. 7, 2004

Meanwhile, other issues await state attention

Our Legislature upheld Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of the concealed-carry bill ("Concealed weapons veto override fails by one vote," Feb. 4). Democrats offered 70 amendments, only to have 69 rejected by Republicans. After the vote, National Rifle Association lobbyist Darren LaSorte made statements indicating he will work to unseat certain legislators. Our leadership exhibited a "my way or the highway" attitude, rejecting any offers of bipartisanship.

In the meantime, my school district has faced 10 years of budget cuts and an unwillingness by the state to pay its promised share in unfunded and underfunded mandates, putting a burden not only on our district, students and teachers, but also upon our taxpaying residents.

I wonder how much the NRA contributed to these legislators. It would be nice to know whom they are really working for.

Dan Barbian
West Allis

***
Lawmakers have failed law-abiding citizens
Why is it that every time someone mentions the possibility that law-abiding citizens may be able to obtain a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon, the governor and other individuals try to paint a picture of legal permit-holders terrorizing shopping malls, little league parks, schools, etc.? Law-abiding citizens are just that: law-abiding!

What were all of these opponents of the bill doing when a lot of our neighborhoods were being shot up by gang members and drug dealers? They were standing by and watching because "it's not their neighborhood."

The police cannot respond quickly enough because, in most cases, it will be after the fact. My family cannot wait for "after the fact." I won't let that happen. But because I am a law-abiding citizen, I cannot protect my family when we are out and about. After all, it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

R. Junakin
Milwaukee

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Representatives should be held accountable
The failure of the Assembly to override the governor's veto was a picture-perfect example of the lack of accountability in politics and legislators who are continually allowed to double-talk without being held to any standard of accountability.

Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing), who voted for the bill in previous sessions of the Assembly and co-sponsored the bill flip-flopped and voted to uphold the governor's veto. What really strikes me is his statements after making his flip-flop vote:

"I still have my character. I still know who I am. I believe in political courage. I didn't come down here to play the odds, or address percentages, and chicken out."

What part of flip-flopping on an issue demonstrates character? What part of changing his position on a bill he co-sponsored amounts to political courage? Isn't political courage following through with your principles? And I assume that in principle he agreed with the bill, as he co-sponsored it and voted for it in previous sessions.

And the big question is, will we accept this political double-talk, or will we recognize it for what it is?

Nik Clark
West Allis

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Wisconsin has survived so far without this law
"The move to defeat Sherman and other Democrats 'started tonight,' added NRA lobbyist Darren LaSorte. 'Some seats have got to change. This issue is too important to quit on.' "

The above appeared in a Feb. 4 article on the defeat of the concealed-carry legislation ("Concealed weapons veto override fails by one vote").

Perhaps LaSorte would care to explain how in the world the state of Wisconsin has managed to survive for 130 years with no observable ill effects without this "important" issue having been in place as he would have liked it.

Allen Wick
Westfield

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Partisanship went both ways with this vote
In reading the Feb. 4 front-page article on the concealed-weapons veto override vote, I was struck by the prominent role given to Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing) since he switched his vote in order to support Gov. Jim Doyle. This change was painted as a partisan political decision.

Only in the 20th paragraph, after significant coverage of the National Rifle Association lobbyist's vow to work to unseat Sherman, did the article acknowledge "Two Republicans who voted against the bill in November - Rep. John Townsend of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon - switched and backed it this time."

Why wasn't the two Republicans' change of position interpreted as party politics? I would hope for more fairness in reporting.

Richard Stockbridge
Mequon

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Support for one gun issue may not apply for other
A Feb. 3 letter stated: "The editorial referred to a Badger Poll of 511 people in which 69% of the respondents didn't want concealed carry. Who were the subjects of this survey, the University of Wisconsin faculty? In a statewide vote, about 80% of the voters approved the constitutional amendment to keep and bear arms."

This reported 80% approval of the right to bear arms has nothing to do with how these same 80% would feel if asked if they approve of concealed weapons in our state. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say people should be able to carry concealed weapons.

This is another example of people using the results of a very general poll to drastically exaggerate their own point of view. At least the Badger Poll asked the correct question.

People should explain their statistics and what they really mean instead of blindly turning support for one issue into support for a similar, yet different, one. What good is the will of the people if politicians and misinformed individuals are just going to twist words and numbers to find support for their own agenda?

Joseph Martin
Madison

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A blow to residents of crime-ridden cities
Wisconsin has failed to turn the tables on the bad guys! I guess way up in Ashland there is no crime, so why vote "yes" so that law-abiding citizens can protect themselves?

The citizens of crime-ridden cities such as Milwaukee and Racine were the ones slapped in the face. The lawmakers basically said if a law-abiding citizen goes through the training and all the background checks, he or she will become reckless and endanger the community.

Those trained could have made the streets safer and put fear in the criminals, but now I'm the one fearing.

Michael DeBlaey
Milwaukee

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Writer's ideas won't help at crime scenes
In response to Josiah Redford's Feb. 3 letter "Citizens shouldn't take law into own hands," apparently, we must live in paradise!

Law enforcement, in most cases, can only react to a crime and not stop it. With that in mind, self-protection is a citizen's only assurance of his or her own destiny.

But I will be sure, while my wife is being raped, to call a town meeting to discuss it. When a man is assaulted and knifed, just to be relieved of $8 from his wallet, he should be sure to make a better effort to get to know the neighbors. When a friend is killed by a carjacker who could care less about the victim or the victim's family, Redford should be sure to call an intervention and tell the bad man how the victim's death made him feel.

Redford can discuss his feelings on violence with the assailant if it makes him feel safe in his utopia. Some of us, though, prefer to put our fates in more responsible hands - our own.

Dan Rost
Wausau

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We can count on the fact that the guns will be there
Concealed carry lives.

Those who fear weapons at schools, little league games, day care centers, bars, churches, dark sidewalks and wherever they might go can rest assured: Guns will be there.

Through the actions of Gov. Jim Doyle and 34 state representatives, criminals go completely unchecked and they are happy. They can and will rob, rape and steal a car with absolutely no fear.

Criminals will migrate to Wisconsin from Minnesota and Michigan because it is easier to assault people who can't defend themselves. The governors of those two states had the wisdom to pass a concealed-carry bill, realizing that the Legislature had done a great deal of research on it.

Tom Bice
Trempealeau

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Ability to carry weapon is no solution to anything
When exactly did the ability to carry a concealed weapon become a solution? And to address what problem? Having been all over the state, from Milwaukee to Eau Claire, many times lost, I haven't had a single situation where it would have behooved me to be packing a gun.

Advocates say, "The police can't be everywhere; carrying guns is necessary to keep safe." Both statements are true. The police can't be everywhere; they neither need to be nor should have to be. Packing guns will make one safer, if one is Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood in the movies. I can't justify in my head that more guns hidden will make us safer.

Advocates say, "But people will have permits and will have to be qualified to carry a gun." That assumes a lot. From my experience in the human services field and in general, I know someone who is "normal" and "competent" today may not be in a year, a month, a week or a day. Especially with the amount of beer we drink in this state; mixing that with "normal" gun-toting citizens - no thanks.

I applaud those who saw through the special interest party line and am disappointed in those who waste valuable time that could be spent on issues that have a real impact on me, my family and my community.

Jason Baer
Oshkosh

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Standing Wolf
February 9, 2004, 11:01 PM
I still have my character. I still know who I am. I believe in political courage. I didn't come down here to play the odds, or address percentages, and chicken out.

His so-called "character" and "courage" are the stuff Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot were made of.

Monkeyleg
February 9, 2004, 11:07 PM
You know, I just had to love the opponents' arguments during these debates: why are we wasting time on this when healthcare, jobs and schools are on the line?

Well, then, why did opponents like Representative Boyle speak for over half an hour?

Madison is such a dirty town, it would take a nuke to clean it up.

Andrew Rothman
February 9, 2004, 11:37 PM
Perhaps LaSorte would care to explain how in the world the state of Wisconsin has managed to survive for 130 years with no observable ill effects without this "important" issue having been in place as he would have liked it.

Wow! Had I known that Wisconsin was such a crime-free utopia, I would have moved there long ago! :rolleyes:

idd
February 10, 2004, 12:52 AM
Packing guns will make one safer, if one is Charles Bronson or Clint Eastwood in the movies.

Translation: "Everything I know about guns comes from Hollywierd movies."

Especially with the amount of beer we drink in this state; mixing that with "normal" gun-toting citizens - no thanks.

Those "normal" gun-toting types are just seething cauldrons of rage waiting to explode. Come to think of it, we should ban beer, too. Having been all over the state, from Milwaukee to Eau Claire, many times lost, I haven't had a single situation where it would have behooved me to have a drink. I can't justify in my head that more alcohol will make us safer.

From my experience in the human services field ...

Translation: "Speaking as a social worker/rescuer type with years of experience in the welfare office, I think that grown adults are just to stupid to know how to run their own lives and can never ever be trusted with a firearm."

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