Wisconsin is about to become the 49th state in the nation to legalize concealed carry, leaving Illinois as the only state left without such a provision.
The Wisconsin House and Senate both passed the bill, which will allow citizens to carry concealed handguns, with bipartisan support. The measure now goes to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for his signature.
The legislation requires residents to obtain a permit, unlike states like Alaska, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Hampshire where citizens can carry open and concealed handguns without a permit.
Second Amendment supporters have been lobbying for years to secure the legislation, and they applauded the bill, although many were pushing for an Arizona-style law.
“We’ve been working for more than a decade to get right-to-carry passed in Wisconsin,” said National Rifle Association spokesperson Rachel Parsons. “We’re very happy that determination has paid off, and we’re eager to get this bill signed by Governor Walker.”
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence criticized the Wisconsin legislation for what it said are lax permit standards, as well as not making any distinctions between rural and urban areas.
“We feel the training and location standards are very weak,” said Brian Malte, legislative director for the Brady Campaign. “It allows loaded, hidden guns into sensitive places, and we oppose it.”
Meanwhile, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn doubled down on his opposition to concealed carry and said it was unlikely to pass in Illinois anytime soon.
“About two-thirds of the people of Illinois are strongly opposed to that proposed idea and public safety comes first,” Quinn said. “We should listen to the everyday people of our state when it comes to their safety that carrying loaded, concealed weapons by private persons in public places is something that is not going to enhance public safety.”
Legislation to legalize concealed carry in Illinois was voted down by a narrow margin in May, but the NRA now has its sights set on the strictest gun-control state in the nation.
“Our track record of pushing this legislation is quite successful, and our determination is well-noted,” Parsons said. “We’ll continue to come back session after session.”