June 22, Madison, WI:
When Wisconsin’s law allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons goes into effect, Shawn Winrich is likely to take advantage of it. But if he does, he’ll do it grudgingly.
Winrich, a 34-year-old Madison resident and a member of the gun rights group Wisconsin Carry, likes to carry his Glock 17. He’s done it openly for about a year, but he doesn’t like the idea of paying a permit fee to carry it concealed.
“The bill is somewhat reasonable,” says Winrich. “But it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a violation of the constitutional rights that are secured by the state Constitution, which says (you can carry firearms for) ‘any lawful purpose’ and the U.S. Constitution says ‘these rights shall not be infringed.’ But yet the state still thinks it can regulate and impose a tax on guns. And that’s just not right.”
But gun control advocates say otherwise.
On its website, the Violence Policy Center keeps a running total of “concealed carry killers,” citizens legally permitted to carry firearms who have committed murder. Since May 2007, the group has documented 309 people killed by legal carriers, including 11 law enforcement officers. The list of offenders includes Jared Lee Loughner, who in January opened fire at an event in Tucson, Ariz., held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six and gravely wounding several others, including Giffords.
And when chinks in the permit systems in Texas and Florida were exposed by media reports, the NRA went back to legislatures to make the names of permit holders off-limits to the public, as they will be in Wisconsin. Among other problems, journalists found that hundreds of felons were issued permits to carry concealed weapons.