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WI: New push made for concealed carry

Discussion in 'Legal' started by xenophon, Oct 16, 2005.

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  1. xenophon

    xenophon Member

    Aug 11, 2003
    Milwaukee, WI

    New push made for concealed carry
    Bill edges toward veto, as possible court case looms
    Posted: Oct. 15, 2005

    Madison - When the Wisconsin Supreme Court two years ago ruled that people had a limited right to carry concealed weapons, it urged the Legislature to clarify state law on the matter.

    With an earlier bill thwarted by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's veto, Republican lawmakers are again pushing a measure that would create permits for concealed weapons - and warning that if it doesn't become law, the courts could throw out the state's statute barring concealed weapons.

    Democrats maintain that the latest bill's authors misconstrued the justices' message, which addressed a narrow issue.

    As legislators debate the latest bill, which Doyle has pledged to again veto, the state Supreme Court could take up a case that gun advocates say could broaden when and where citizens can carry concealed guns.

    The Court of Appeals asked the high court this summer to review the case of a Black River Falls tavern owner who was arrested for carrying a concealed pistol in his truck.

    The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that people could carry concealed weapons in their homes and businesses they owned. In the latest case, tavernkeeper Scott K. Fisher argues that he could legally keep a gun hidden in his truck because he frequently used the vehicle to take cash from the bar to the bank.

    The court is expected to decide soon whether it will take the case, setting up the possibility that the justices will review the matter in one end of the Capitol as lawmakers debate the bill in the other.

    Sen. Dave Zien (R-Eau Claire), an author of the new bill, said the Supreme Court's 2003 decision was the first blow against the state's 1872 law that prohibits anyone but law officers from carrying concealed weapons

    "They'll chip away at this" statute, he said. "The state Supreme Court is going to get tired of this. They came close to ruling it unconstitutional before."

    Doyle said he was not concerned about the constitutional questions raised by gun advocates because Wisconsin courts have ruled that the Legislature can limit the use of concealed weapons.

    In July 2003, the court ruled that Milwaukee grocer Munir Hamdan had the right to carry a concealed gun in his Capitol Drive store because of a 1998 constitutional amendment that granted citizens the right to bear arms for security and other lawful purposes.

    Shortly after the ruling, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that would grant concealed weapons permits to anyone 21 and older who did not have a violent criminal record. Doyle vetoed it.

    The Senate overrode Doyle's veto, but the Assembly came one vote shy of doing so.

    Clarity needed
    Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing) found himself at the center of the debate because he voted for the bill initially, but voted not to override Doyle.

    Sherman said he supports allowing people to carry concealed weapons if the police have discretion over who qualifies for them. But he said Zien's bill was written to force another Doyle veto, creating a wedge issue in his November 2006 re-election campaign.

    Another high court decision might be just what is needed, Sherman said.

    "Maybe that would be the best thing, because it would at least push people on both sides of the issue to get real," he said.

    Fisher, who at the time owned the Cozy Corner tavern in Black River Falls, received a Department of Natural Resources ticket in December 2003 for transporting loaded firearms. When he later stopped at a DNR office to complain about it, he told a warden he had a pistol in his truck. The warden called police, who arrested him for carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

    Jackson County Circuit Judge John Damon dismissed the charge after Fisher's attorney, Paul Millis, argued that his client had a right to carry the hidden gun because Fisher's truck was an extension of his business property. Fisher frequently carried $2,000 or more from the bar in the truck but wasn't doing so at the time of his arrest.

    William Nemer, the special prosecutor in the case, appealed the decision, arguing that the truck was not being used for business at the time.

    "He was on his way to McDonald's and decided to stop at the DNR," he said. "I don't see how that intersected with his business."

    Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford), who wrote the latest bill with Zien, said the case could lead to an expansion of the right for business owners to carry concealed guns. He said that other cases now could bubble up to the high court over the issue of whether citizens have the right to carry concealed weapons on the streets.

    "There are some things that could happen here in the next few months or year that could make what we're doing (with the bill) irrelevant," Gunderson said.

    Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) said Zien and Gunderson were mischaracterizing the scope of the 2003 decision involving the Milwaukee grocery store owner, which was limited to carrying guns in residences and private businesses.

    "That's a very specific case," Richards said. "That's a very different situation than allowing people to carry concealed weapons into malls . . . and churches."

    In that decision, the court urged the Legislature to amend the statute that bars carrying concealed weapons, saying lawmakers could consider granting permits allowing people to have hidden weapons.

    Joel Dresang of the Journal Sentinel staff, reporting from Wauwatosa, contributed to this report.
  2. antsi

    antsi Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Sherman said he supports allowing people to carry concealed weapons if the police have discretion over who qualifies for them.

    Translation: only politicoes like me get to carry

    And if the supreme court's ruling on the right to carry is really an issue, how does that turn out to "this right is limited to people who have pull with the local po-po"
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Sun generally rises in east.
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