This extreme legislation would force states to allow the carrying of loaded, hidden guns by untrained, out-of-state visitors, even by persons legally barred from possessing guns in the state where the carrying occurs. So much for the sacred conservative idea of "local control". Many legislators that are pushing this bill have tossed aside their normal "local control" mantra and have instead adopted a big federal government one-size-fits-all approach. It is clear that this legislation is more of an appeasement of extremists like those running the NRA than it is about making good public policy.
For many years the State of Wisconsin wisely resisted allowing the concealed carrying of firearms. Unfortunately concealed carry legislation finally passed in Wisconsin earlier this year and the law becomes effective on November 1. While the new law is a major mistake and doesn't have nearly enough protections built into it at least it was only a modified version of the original. That version was even more extreme and promoted the inappropriately named idea of "constitutional carry". Essentially allowing just about everyone to carry concealed weapons anywhere without background checks, training or limits of any kind. Even though the new Wisconsin law backed away from that radical notion, that fact could be rendered mute if HR 822 is passed in Washington, DC.
The new Wisconsin concealed carry law allows local municipalities and businesses to ban concealed firearms in their buildings. They would do this by posting signs declaring that firearms are not allowed. As the November 1 deadline approaches many Wisconsin municipalities, including the state's largest , are quickly establishing those local limits. Likewise the entire University of Wisconsin system and Marquette University are moving to prevent concealed weapons in their buildings.
Businesses are also quickly learning the best way to proceed given the many questions that still remain. Advocacy groups such as the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) are asking concerned members of the public to request that businesses protect their safety by banning hidden guns in their establishments.
However, all of this local work in states like Wisconsin could be totally disregarded if the big federal government declaration that exists in HR 822 actually becomes law. While we wait for members of Congress to decide if they really want to target the allegedly cherished idea of "local control", we are certainly not helpless. The Brady Campaign has a wealth of information on this legislation and the problems that it would pose to our states and to our local communities.
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.