*** UPDATE (4:25 PM): SB403 was defeated in the Assembly by a 64-32 vote, coming two votes shy of the required 66. Well, as this is an election year we can simply wait for Green or Walker to kick the turtle out the Capitol and a REAL concealed carry bill can be passed next year. ***
Sorry folks, I've had a hectic week since I last posted. I had to run home this weekend and attend my grandfather's funeral, then I had to get back to school and get cracking on loads of homework so I could have the rest of the week free to do what I love: BLOG!
I may not be much for local news, but this is pretty newsworthy. The Wisconsin State Assembly is deliberating as I write on the most hotly-debated piece of legislation since Doyle took office in 2002. The issue is concealed carry, and the piece of legislation is SB403 (PDF file). It has been presented in consecutive years, I believe, since 2003 or 2004. In either case, it has been vetoed every time by Governor Doyle and an override has been just outside the grasp of the Assembly (one vote, in fact, a few years ago).
This time around, however, the Republicans in the legislature have taken it upon themselves to all but ensure a passage on this occassion by offering several concessions to weary, fence-sitting, Democrats. Of the thirty-nine Democratic Assemblymen, around thirty are vehemently opposed to said legislation, believing the bill would put more guns on the streets and more innocents in bodybags. This foolish observation has been disproved time and again in liberal states as well as conservative.
Florida, the first state to pass any form of concealed carry legislation, has seen its violent crime rate drop over 23% since 1992 (the year concealed carry was passed). According to the Florida Statistical Analysis Center, total violent crimes have dropped from 161,137 to 123,697 between 1992 and 2004. Also, the violent crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants has dropped from 1200.3 to 706.2, which equates to a drop of almost 41%. Even more astonishing, with thirty-eight states passing some form of "Right to Carry" (RTC) legislation, the number of violent crimes nationwide has dropped nearly 30% and the rate per 100,000 inhabitants is down 38.5% (both figures are 1992-2004).
Nevertheless, gun control advocates blame concealed carry for everything under the sun, meanwhile crime rates go down. Sooner or later, the twelve states yet to pass RTC laws will come to their senses. Wisconsin, today, could join the thirty-eight or remain one of the twelve anti-gunners left. Let's hope the fence-sitters fall on the right side ...