The concealed carry bill (Senate Bill 403) that is up for a vote in our state capitol is a tragic turn for Wisconsin. After Reconstruction, America condoned secret guns, abetting racist governments and the power of the Democratic Party. This infected the South for generations. And some will say it has not ended.
My own Senator, Jeff Plale, who hocked his political career to that simplistic distortion of the Constitution called gun “rights,” is supporting SB 403. The Senator needs to enjoy some clarification of thought on fundamental concepts of Good Government. Here is why you need to write to him today. (Addresses below.)
This bill takes Wisconsin way beyond that occasional gun walking down the street in a “good” guy’s pocket; it takes the state and its licensed gun carriers “rights” smack into your churches and offices, your restaurants, your nonprofit organization meetings, even your polling place.
I submit here that private (secret) licensing of concealed carried (secret) guns as written up in SB 403 is bad public policy. It will lay the ground work for a modern Klan.
It is because of what I read in the Plale-supported bill, SB 403 that I am asking my fellow citizens to take action. Now my observations of this bill follow.
Under current law today the citizen may carry a gun, but in an obvious container, case, or holster. The holster-strapped fashion plate would probably be safe as she strolled past the saloons of giddy girls and boys on Water Street. Never mind that the wow factor of that leather-holstered gun would be a knockout sight almost as good as going naked.
Proponents talk romantically about carrying guns and their utopian vision is lathered with Hollywood fantasy indulging the overactive imaginations of our cowboy legislators—the Lone Ranger and Tonto arriving before the sheriff or the judge, and executing their private justice. History has shown (in Iraq, Ireland, Palestine, Darfur, Chechnya, South Africa, Guatemala, San Salvador) that instant violent justice is no basis for mutual security.
Legislators say the goal of SB 403 is the safety of All of Wisconsin—some 100,000 gun carriers running around the state ready to protect me when the next suicide rifleman shoots up Mc Donalds. The problem with their fantasies is that from here (today) to there (licensed vigilantes) I am left out of the picture. I, and five million Wisconsinites, who will not be carrying a gun.
SB 403′s Obsession for Secrecy
My bill—Part 3 of This Essay—will provide fresh air and sunshine, involve the public in the licensing process, during application, police-level training, psychological testing, qualification, affidavits from neighbors—licensing under the gaze of the public. Public safety is not a job for a self-appointed John Wayne; mutual security requires shared responsibility. Public licensing is what good government does, thoughtful government. But elected officials love having their secrets and then delegating the devilish details to bureaucrats whom they cheerfully scold in their next campaign.
From Bush on down to our local alderperson, secrets create personal political power. And writing secrets into law cuts off the discussion among the public; it concentrates power in the hands of government bureaucrats.
Tragically, America has already experimented with secret armed posses. Earlier in the 20th century governments tolerated terrorism, the night-time rides, bonfires, and lynchings by armed divisions of secret gun owners. Members of the Klu Klux Klan, armed and roving, served a state purpose, and helped sustain generations of Democrat Party hegemony in the South, at the expense of the civil rights of millions of citizens.
Does It Work?
Is there value in the secrecy of SB 403? We don’t know, and we will never be able to find out.
It will be against the law to evaluate this law. This law would order the Department of Justice to store license data in a way that the data canNOT be studied—no sorting on zip code or census tract, no counting by gender, no analysis of gun crime with per-population presence of concealed guns. The government will have nothing to tell us. At or after a crime scene, the Department of Justice is forbidden to insert facts in the police crime report itself about the presence at the scene of any concealed-carry license or gun.
The gun lobby has long asserted that “bearing arms” protects the civil rights of everyone, but today when they have a chance to prove this nonsense, they bob and weave and, of course, write the law to prevent us from looking at the evidence.
Will 100,000 carried guns make us safer? Yes is as good as No, in our Senate in Wonderland.
When Gun “Rights” are More Important Than Civil Rights
The NRA, the arm of gun manufacturers, has long been willing to sacrifice nine of the ten Bill of Rights, for the one they prefer—good for selling guns, by the way—to establish, finally, a safe unassailable beach-head for the NRA as the power broker in American politics. It’s all gun talk; limited government prefers human discussion, English and evidence, person to person, a government that either sunsets or evaluates its work. Code, slogans, social-engineering, and fantasies are marketing but not government.
Support The Police
So secret do these lawmakers want this information that a police officer called to a domestic violence scene cannot tap the license database in Madison to determine if there is a concealed-carry licensee (and probably a gun) in that home. Turning down these self-defense petitions from our law enforcement population is radical government by special interest, to the extreme.
This bill violates its own arguments—it’s all about “self-defense” they say—because the NRA sees itself in competition with official law enforcement. This bill is an attack on our personal safety and a shackle on government officials who have sworn an oath to protect us.
SB 403 is flight from the Founding Fathers’ concept of mutual security governed by the people, to private enclaves of guns unknown as to their whereabouts, the intentions of their owners, and the impact on our future.
Democracy and secrecy is a shot-gun marriage, forced, unhappy, and soon divorced—one winner, one loser.
Other failings of SB 403 are subject of Part II and Part III of this essay:
NRA Corrals Legislature to Sell More Guns in Wisconsin - Part II
Suggestions for a Public and Local Concealed Carry Weapons Law - Part III
Contact Senator Jeffrey Plale at
Room 108 South
P.O. Box 7882
Contact Sell at
See Sell’s archives for previous efforts.