Two prominent law enforcement officials are ready to back Wisconsinites' ability to carry concealed handguns with a permit if the law includes tough gun regulations that have been hard to obtain.
We have long been opposed to concealed carry for Wisconsin. But an argument, being made by Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and District Attorney John Chisholm, makes sense to us. The state should have this law if it is truly part of a larger package that includes closing the gun show loophole, making it a felony to act as a straw buyer and also a felony to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
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Law enforcement officials feel that their hands are tied. While it's illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin, the penalties for doing so are among the weakest in the country.
Last week, Flynn told the Editorial Board that his frustration mounts after his department arrests someone carrying a gun, but the person is punished with a relative slap on the wrist.
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We all should be willing to live with concealed carry if it is part of comprehensive firearm reform and if prosecutors are given the ability to severely punish those illegally carrying guns.
In other words, the trade-off is worthy if also included are tools that, as Flynn describes it, make it just as dangerous for folks to carry illegal guns as they think it is to go without them.
In Wisconsin, it is illegal for a felon to be in possession of a firearm. But for a non-felon, the offense is most often a misdemeanor.
It's clear: Something drastic needs to change in the state to make people rethink carrying handguns. In certain areas of the city, gunshots can ring out at anytime because of a perception that, on the streets, carrying a gun is simply a matter of necessity. Read more