Concealed Weapons Bill Passes Senate

By: Sarah Stokes
By: Sarah Stokes

Governor Jim Doyle could be staring down the barrel of a veto override after the State Senate passed the concealed carry bill by a large majority. If the senators stick to their vote, that could be enough power to override doyle's promised veto. But today's senate vote could be more about strategy than policy. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire Political Science professor Geoff Peterson tells ussome senators in tight re-election races may have wanted to get a pro-gun vote on their record, and this was a way to do it but he's not sure they'll go ahead and vote against the governor when the time comes.
However, today's vote had quite a bang, as 28 state senators said yes to concealed carry, and only 5 said no to it. The assembly passed the bill last month, but not by as big of a margin. Both chambers would need a two-thirds majority to override the expected veto. Eau Claire Senator Dave Zien, who has been on the forefront of the concealed carry effort expects Governor Doyle to do a lot of arm-twisting between now and then.
Zien says "he'll do whatever he can to get a person to jump ship. I would dare say that anyone who jumps ship the next election cycle they're going to have a serious election."
The bill is headed to the governor's desk and the process could be over within the month. That means law enforcement groups opposed to the bill may speak up more. The President of the Wisconsin Police Chiefs Association tells Newscenter 13 that his group is opposed to the bill for several reasons. First, the bill prevents officers from getting information on which drivers are packing heat during traffic stops. Also there's only a one-time training requirement for permit holders. To put it in perspective, police officers have to be trained every single year. The Association is also concerned of the .08 blood alcohol level limit. The Chiefs' Association says that is short of a DWI, but is still a lot of alcohol in a person's system who is also responsible for carrying a concealed gun.


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