On November 1, 2011, Wisconsin became the 49th states to pass some form of a concealed carry law. Illinois recently followed in suit with a concealed carry law of their own. With the passing of the law in the Illinois Legislature, all 50 states have an active concealed carry law in effect, only excluding the district of Columbia, which is located on the Northeast side of the Potomac River in Maryland.
There are currently 5 installments or variations of the concealed carry law. The 5 variations are: Issued to residents only, Issued to residents and non residents, shall issue (state has to issue to anyone that passes tests), may issue (state can withhold license from anyone they want to), and may issue to residents and non residents.
According to the Brady Foundation, shootings take place on American soil almost daily. As many as 350 shootings have already been recorded as of Thanksgiving, 2013.
Investigative reporter Bob McCarty proposed a different perspective when he reported in 2008 that there had been more murders in Chicago than deaths in Iraq over the course of that year.
The debate over firearms will go on, in the meantime, local officials will have to adapt to the new rules and make update protocol to make sure that gun related incidents are avoided on local levels all across the country. The UW-Whitewater campus has never been the victim of gun violence on campus thanks to the hard working campus police force that takes safety seriously.
Gun control effects everyone, and although it may seem to make sense in cities and on campuses, it could negatively effect others.
Local hunter, trapper, and sportsman Tom Windham says guns are a part of his daily life. “I carry a handgun on my trapping line to use on varmints like skunks and other animals that are pesky,” Windham said. “Carrying firearms does, however, come with a level of responsibility.” Windham took a local hunters safety course when he was a kid, and currently has a concealed carry license. “I always keep a few guns around the house for personal safety,” Windham said. “I hardly ever conceal my gun, because around here I don’t really find it necessary. However, it is good to have the license just in case I ever decided that I wanted to carry.” Windham has a small collection of firearms that include handguns, rifles, shotguns, and a few semi-automatic weapons. All which are registered and legal according to the laws of gun ownership in Wisconsin.
Gun shops are one business that is benefitting from the new laws. Thunder Shooting in Milton is taking advantage of their rights by offering concealed carry courses that teach safe weapon handling and proper technique.
Regardless of training and safety, or rules and regulations, there is always a chance of a weapons threat or incident.
According to a random poll conducted on the UW-Whitewater campus, 80% said that they didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of people concealing on campus. The same people were polled on concealed carry off-campus and only 60% said that they disagreed.
The poll was conducted of:
- 9 males and 11 females
- 18 of the students were traditional and 2 were non traditional
- 12 opposed general concealed carry laws, and 8 supported the concealed carry laws
- 1 person was licensed by the state of Wisconsin to conceal.
The questions that the students were polled on were on a scale of agree/yes, disagree/no, or indifferent. The Questions were:
- Are you a traditional student or a non traditional student?
- Are you a male or a female?
- People should have the right to conceal weapons on campus?
- Are you comfortable with concealed carry in general? (off-campus)
- Do you believe that gun violence is directly connected to concealed carry?
- Are you or any of your family members registered by a state to conceal carry?
- What is your familiarity of concealed carry laws? (scale of 1-10, 1 being low and 10 being high)
The aggregate approach of polling the public is just one way that represents public opinion. This study made use of elite opinion, aggregate approach, and the reflection of majority beliefs. Between these 3 public opinion approaches, a well rounded view was displayed. Overall, the public that was informed on the issue seemed to be more comfortable with the right to conceal when done under the state implemented rules and regulations. However, there was a level of discomfort that came with unfamiliarity of the issue and peoples rights.
According to Chief Kiederlen, “you don’t have to worry about law abiding citizens concealing, and thats pretty much what the law supports.”
Firearms present risk when in the wrong hands or improperly handled. It is the governments job to inform of the danger of firearms and offer training and safety procedure that will inform the public and create smarter, more aware firearm owners. Although the local Whitewater community has a clean slate when it comes to gun violence, they are not immune, and authorities are aware of this. Local officials are continuously training and preparing for a threat to public safety, however, encourage the public to not live in fear.