MADISON, Wisc. (Jan. 17, 2022) – Last week, a Wisconsin Senate committee passed a bill that would legalize permitless or “Constitutional Carry” in the state. The enactment of this bill would also foster an environment more hostile to federal gun control.

A coalition of seven Republicans introduced Senate Bill 619 (SB619) in the 2021 legislative session and it carried over to this year. Under the proposed law, any adult legally able to carry a handgun in Wisconsin would be allowed to carry a concealed firearm without a state-issued license. The bill would not change the criteria for who is legally allowed to carry a firearm.

The existing concealed weapon licensing program would remain in place so people who wish to obtain a license could still do so in order to carry concealed in states with CCDW reciprocity with Wisconsin.

On Jan 13, the Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry passed SB619 by a 3-2 vote.

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing “constitutional carry” lower barriers for those wanting the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourage a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

SB619 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.

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