Concealed Weapons (copy) (copy)

A Republican bill would allow Wisconsinites to carry concealed firearms without training or a permit. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Beloit Daily News, which historically hasn't been a strong advocate of gun control laws, nevertheless has had enough.

The newspaper, like a lot of the rest of us, is having trouble understanding just how far some state legislators are willing to go to put a gun in the hands of virtually every person in the state, no matter how scary that possibility is.

The latest bit of nonsense is coming from a couple more legislators who obviously have too much time on their hands — Sen. David Craig, Republican of the town of Vernon, and Rep. Mary Felzkowski, Republican from Irma. They've dreamed up yet another GOP-sponsored measure that goes even further than the right to conceal carry weapons virtually everywhere in the state.

Their bill, dubbed the "right to carry," would allow people to carry a concealed firearm without even having to get a permit or demonstrate that they know how to handle a weapon, both of which are requirements of the concealed carry law in Wisconsin. It would also lower the minimum age of conceal carry from 21 to 18.

The Beloit paper acknowledged that it wasn't all that crazy about concealed carry when it was passed six years ago, but is willing to admit that it seems to be working without problems, at least so far.

But this latest piece of legislation is insane, the paper recently editorialized.

"Why change?" it asked. "Are advocates just trying to determine exactly how far one can crawl out on that policy limb before it snaps?"

Despite the outcry that has come from Democrats and some Republicans and countless others, including the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the Senate's Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted 3-2 on a party-line vote to advance this ridiculous piece of gun nonsense to the Senate floor.

It has also gained the imprimatur of area Republican legislators, including Keith Ripp of Lodi and Howard Marklein of Spring Green.

Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Wisconsin residents agree that responsible individuals who want to carry a concealed weapon should at least get a background check before getting a permit to do so.

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Wisconsin faces enough problems that need to be addressed, everything from its failing transportation infrastructure to the condition of its rural public schools.

But, once again, this Legislature would rather focus on making it easier to spread more firearms around our communities.

And then we wonder why we kill more people with guns than any other country in the world.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel

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Dave is editor emeritus of The Capital Times.