Monday, May 16, 2011

NRA Workshop AAR/WI CCW Bills Info

Last Thursday the NRA-ILA, in conjunction with Wisconsin Force, put on a "Grassroots Workshop" at Gander Mountain.  Due to CCW legislation being recently introduced into the state house and senate, and a public hearing regarding these bills taking place across town from the meeting earlier in the day, the "workshop" turned into more of a CCW Bill familiarization class.

First off though, the turnout was great.  There was at least 100 people cramming into a room meant for about 40.

Yay, crappy cell pic!

We were literally overflowing into the store.  The upside was that they mic'd the speakers, so the entire store could hear what was being said.

As far as the bills in circulation, there are three: AB126/SB90 (shall carry/licensed carry) and SB93 (Constitutional Carry.)  The NRA guys claim they support both.  While this seems a bit strange at first, what they mean is that they'd love to see both bills reconciled and combined.  Realistically, this would be a bit rough, but I tend to agree with their thought process.

It's pretty long, so more after the break-
AB126/SB90 would establish a permit system, however there is no training requirement, simply an application fee of "up to $65," although they suspect AG Van Hollen would only charge the $13 cost running the background check.  The only requirements would be the applicant is 21 years old or older (there is talks of getting "18 with military service" added in somehow) and would pass the same background check that is run when you purchase a new handgun in Wisconsin.

The advantages of this are that we would immediately gain reprocity with 18 other states, and permit holders would be able to carry within the magical 1000' school bubbles (openly or concealed.)  I asked if there would be potential to use the permit to bypass future background checks and waiting periods for future handgun purchases, similar to other states, and they said they'd definitely look into that.  The main reasoning is that if you only had one gun, and wanted to trade it for something else, you'd currently have to pay the background check fee and wait 48 hours to take possession of the new gun.  This could potentially leave you unarmed for that time.

Private property owners maintain the right to ban carry on their property.  I agree with this, citizens should not be told how to run their place, and just like the NRA guy said, if you don't like it, let them know why you'll no longer be giving them your money.  He mentioned a story from a town in Minnesota just after the bar ban was lifted where one out of 13 bars in town continued the banning the carry of concealed firearms in their establishment.  Said bar was then robbed three times in two months.  Apparently the owner had a meeting with the other owners about the problem and after some talking, he saw the light.

The NRA guys are also trying to work in a provision where public buildings would be required to provide safe storage and screening if they wished to ban carry inside.  They said it is their duty to provide the screening to protect you if they were going to disarm you, and the same for safe storage in their facility so you can remain armed going to and from the building.

Another BIG part, at least in my mind, is that there is also language actually making it illegal for Law Enforcement to charge you with Disorderly Conduct or Disturbing the Peace simply for (open) carrying.  Whether or not this stays in, we'll see, but it's a nice thought.

The NRA has somewhat redeemed itself in my eyes after this meeting.  The guys said the NRA's stance is supporting both bills, because they recognize the cost of the permit could be an exclusion factor for many, and that a Constitutional Carry allowance would destroy that possibility.  You would not be able to carry in most other states, and would still need to worry about school zones, but you would not be left in the cold.  It would also allow you to carry as soon as the law went into effect while you wait for the permit application process.

Also there is provisions to keep employers from banning you from vehicle storage in parking lots.

It was also mentioned that they are "writing the bills as if Jim Doyle was Attorney General."  What this means is they're trying to make them as bulletproof (sorry...) as possible.  Thankfully Van Hollen has proven to be quite common sense when it comes to firearms enforcement, but it's good to have it reinforced in case someone like Doyle where to get the job down the road.

As to the "Grassroots Workshop" aspect of the meeting, there was a lot of pushing NRA-ILA Grassroots Division program, but they also put out some good arguing points.  The fact that 48 states have CCW laws and allowances, and not a single one has tried to repeal them.  Another, that I've already used, is in regards to the Brady Bunch's "case study" saying 300 permit holders have been arrested.  It turns out that over the span of time that those 300 cases have occurred, there have been about 10 million permit holders in the United States.  300 out of 10,000,000 is not much at all.  However, it gets better.  Even in a clear-cut case of self defense by a permit holder, you will be arrested.  It's simply part of the investigation process.  The Brady Bunch also included incidents that had no relation to concealed carry, simply where the suspect had a carry permit.  If you narrow it down to cases where the permit holder was arrested for improper use of a concealed weapon, you're left with 10 cases.  10 out of 10,000,000.  In my stats class I'm pretty sure that was insignificant enough to not actually be acknowledged as even existing.

Overall, the meeting was well worth the drive and standing for two hours listening to the intermixed recruiting talk.  I learned a bit, and things are looking better and more realistic for CCW of some sort here, maybe even some of the best legislation in the country if we play our cards right.

As the NRA guy said, if you're going to be the 49th state to do it, you'd better damn sure do it right.

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