Washington, D.C. – As lawmakers in Washington D.C. prepare to head home for August recess, a new fact sheet released today demonstrates the local impact a bill up for debate on Capitol Hill would have on states like Wisconsin. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force Wisconsin to allow unvetted people from out of state to carry loaded, hidden guns in public spaces. It’s important to note that this bill would not create a consistent national requirement across states for who is able to get a concealed carry permit, but instead forces states to recognize the concealed carry laws from other states, including states that have weaker standards for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public.
“Make no mistake, this dangerous legislation, championed by the corporate gun lobby, has been specifically crafted to ignore states’ rights and overrule each state’s careful judgements about how to best to protect public safety,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “If this bill passes, people who currently do not meet Wisconsin’s requirements for what it takes to carry a loaded, hidden gun will be automatically authorized to carry concealed in Wisconsin’s public spaces. Forcing states like Wisconsin to comply with weaker laws from other states will endanger public safety and make it more difficult for police to enforce gun laws that have been proven to save lives.”
Currently, Wisconsin has the right to choose which states’ concealed carry permits it recognizes, which is important because the requirements to carry hidden, loaded guns in public vary drastically from state to state. If the concealed carry reciprocity bill passes, that would no longer be the case and Wisconsin would be forced to allow unlicensed, unvetted people from out of state to carry concealed guns in public spaces.
As of today, 12 states do not require any permit or training to carry hidden, loaded guns in public. If this bill becomes federal law, almost any person from these 12 states would be allowed to carry concealed in Wisconsin, regardless of whether that person meets Wisconsin’s standards for what it takes to carry a concealed gun in public.
To illustrate the devastating impact this bill would have on Wisconsin’s public safety, the fact sheet, released today by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, compares the requirements to carry concealed in Wisconsin to the requirements to carry concealed in Florida state, illustrating how this bill would drastically weaken Wisconsin’s laws if enacted.
Read The Factsheet: What Federally Mandated Concealed Carry Reciprocity Would Mean For Wisconsin
RELATED RESOURCES & ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 establishes a “weakest link” scenario by forcing the weakest concealed carry laws to become law of the land – undermining state and national standards instead of creating them.
Erodes States’ Rights: Right now, each state has the right to determine which concealed carry permits from other states they choose to recognize. This is critical as requirements for obtaining a permit vary significantly among states. Currently there are twelve states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Without a permit system, there is no way for a law enforcement officer to determine who is lawfully carrying a weapon. States with high standards for carrying a concealed weapon would have to allow people from states without permits to carry weapons in their state, even if they would otherwise be prohibited in that state.
Dangerous for Law Enforcement: Law enforcement groups overwhelmingly oppose federally mandated concealed carry because it would put them in a confusing and dangerous position. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez argues that officers cannot “effectively do their jobs and ensure public safety” under this bill because there is no way for them to verify that someone is carrying lawfully. Federally mandated concealed carry essentially requires law enforcement to know the permitting standards of every state, a heavy and unnecessary burden. Most alarmingly, the bill in the House of Representatives goes so far as to open up law enforcement to the threat of personal litigation. If a law enforcement officer mistakenly questions a person’s legal authority to carry a concealed firearm, they can be sued, personally. This could have a chilling effect on law enforcement who would fear conducting a thorough investigation and enforcing our laws — two of the core responsibilities as guardians of public safety.
Gun Owners Support Requiring Permits to Carry: Federally mandated concealed carry legislation would undermine current concealed carry laws and enable states where anyone’s allowed to carry to carry concealed firearms across the country. Recent polling found that nearly 9 out of 10 American gun owners – about 88 percent – support laws requiring a permit to carry a concealed gun. With these figures, it’s no wonder that 67 percent of gun owners believe the NRA has been taken over by the Washington gun lobby and special interests, and 50 percent believe the organization no longer represents them.
To arrange time to speak with a gun violence prevention expert, contact Sean Simons at [email protected].