Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where are Wisconsin's concealed carry loopholes?

On November 1st Wisconsin's new concealed carry law will go into effect. I am wondering how many loopholes we will later find in that law? How many will public officials unfortunately notice only after problems arise? Will they get past their Dirty Harry complex long enough to correct mistakes? There are at least a few areas where we should probably be looking for loopholes after November 1st.

When the Wisconsin Attorney General's office released the rules related to the new concealed carry law, it listed a fee that would be charged to cover a background check. That fee was listed as being $13, which tells me that they plan on using their own Crime Information Bureau (CIB) database to do that check. That database is a great tool for identifying any adult arrests and resulting court actions in Wisconsin. However it only gives you a record for adult arrests in Wisconsin. What if a person applies for a concealed carry permit and they have a record in another state that might otherwise disqualify them? How will the Department of Justice know if they only use a Wisconsin database to do the background check?

Recently we also learned that Wisconsin will honor concealed carry permits from at least 25 other states. This is another area where we should watch for loophole related problems down the road. Essentially we are owning the process in all of those 25 states including every lax rule. It will take time to discover the various loopholes that will open as a result of honoring permits from those 25 states.

Wisconsin is set to honor permits from Utah for example. Even the relatively gun happy state of Nevada decided to stop honoring Utah's concealed carry permits because of the lax rules. Some have actually described Utah's concealed carry law as being a mail order approach that has attracted applicants from all over the country. Wisconsin's choice to honor their permits forces us to also honor all of their loopholes and any problems that they might bring.

Last week Milwaukee's Shepherd Express ran a story about the new concealed carry law. In that story they reported several concerns that Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had concerning it. He said that thousands of career criminals who have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors would qualify for a concealed carry permit because they are not convicted felons. They can carry a hidden handgun even though they are a literal menace to public safety. Flynn also said that almost half of those convicted of homicides in 2011 would have been eligible for concealed weapons permits because they had not been convicted of a felony prior to committing murder. For the same reason he further said that about 75% of convicted robbers could get a permit at the time of their crime.

The bottom line here is that Wisconsin legislators were in such a frenzy to pass concealed carry legislation that they failed to fully address these and other concerns. Unfortunately they were more concerned with pleasing a political base than they were concerned with carefully forming sound public policy. The various loopholes in Wisconsin's new concealed carry law will eventually become clear. Hopefully that clarity will not come at too great of a cost and hopefully our legislators will have the courage to make the necessary changes.

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.


Palli said...

Unintended consequences usually aren't (unintended).
More guns in the community simply increases the possibilities of danger in everyone's daily life. The stress developed over time from that danger will work to spread fear. Fear is dangerous to democracy. So more tax money will be spent on law enforcement and less allocated toward the community needs that build healthy lives through education and culture. A win-win situation for Republicans-please the NRA donors and spread terror among the populace.
A study ( reported a couple of months ago showing that people with a socially conservative mindset have an enlarged brain area (the right amygdala) that responds to fear and anxiety whereas the more socially liberal mindset has more brain capacity in the anterior cingulate cortex for understanding complexity and problem solving. It does not bode well for the future.

Dimensio said...

More guns in the community simply increases the possibilities of danger in everyone's daily life.

I am certain, then, that you will be able to demonstrate an increase of "danger" in other states following the implementation of "shall-issue" based concealed weapon permit systems such as that implemented in the state of Wisconsin. Please do so.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure I agree with that,the facts show that crime have gone down dramaticlly when a CCW law in implamented. Think about it if you were a robber, rapist whatever and your victome could possible have a weapon then there person I think you would think twice about going after them.

Anonymous said...

I’m all for our right to have arms. I’ve been doing it most of my life in the form of home protection. I keep a pistol grip Mossberg 12 gauge behind the headboard of my bed, and another one behind my refrigerator. This is because I live alone in a bad neighborhood, dredding the day my door gets kicked in by someone involved in criminal activity. I’ve been doing this for decades and never had to reach for them other to clean them every few months and change the loads every year. Hopefully I’ll be able to go a few more decades without having to need them in an incident, but if I would need them, they are there and ready.

As Americans, we have this right to protect our homes and possess guns to go hunting.

As much as I’m for this right, I must say I’m against the new carry law. Sure, I’m all for the right to have guns, but I don’t think it’s right to strap one on as part of your wardrobe in the morning and parade around Main Street U.S.A. as a armed citizen.

This isn’t the old days where the nearest lawman is on horseback about 30 miles away. Now you can have a small army of police at your location in a matter of minutes with one simple phone call, if you need help in public places.

Another thing is, the backgrounds of the people who want to carry concealed. Sure, a person may pass a criminal background check, but who’s to say there aren’t people that shouldn’t carry because of mental health issues, temper problems, anger management issues, alcoholism, or any other concern that may affect ones proper judgment.

Like I said, I’m all for defending ones home after a forced entry is made. I’m also a person who sees hunting as a good use of firearms.

However, …this concealed carry law brings me images of ‘children playing cowboys, or cops and robbers’. Very juvenile, and actually a step backwards for the civilized society we’re trying to be.

I’m sure in Wisconsin there are a lot of people that are getting their carry permits because they have no criminal record. However, as with anything else in life, there will be a percentage of these people that will make a mistake or have an accident in one way or another, and then they’ll have something they didn’t have before they got their permit, ‘A CRIMINAL RECORD’.

This is just human nature. Mistakes are possible and can happen. Use driving as a great example. To drive, you must have a license. When you get out of bed in the morning, you don’t say to yourself “I know for a fact I’m not going to get a ticket for running a stop sign, or getting in an accident today”. You can’t predict things like this. The same holds true for carry concealed. If you choose to carry, you are open to all the extra possibilities that come with the responsibility.