As a result of the election of Governor Scott Walker and new GOP majorities in both the House and Senate, many political watchers assumed Wisconsin's prospects for liberalized handgun carry legislation were brighter that ever.
That's because Walker's predecessor, two-term Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, twice vetoed concealed-handgun licensing measures. Even when the Wisconsin legislature was under Democratic control, it came within a single vote of overriding Doyle's veto.
Just days after the 2010 mid-terms, the National Rifle Association announced it would make the passage of Wisconsin's Right-to-Carry law one of its top priorities of 2011.
And this week, those diligent efforts of the NRA and many other groups and individuals in the Badger State appear to have paid big dividends, as Wisconsin moved closer to becoming the 49th state to enact legislation allowing law-abiding citizens the right to carry concealed firearms for personal protection. In a decidedly bi-partisan 25 to 8 vote on June 14, the Wisconsin state Senate approved one of the nation's strongest right-to-carry laws, Senate Bill 93. A forthcoming floor vote in the state Assembly appears assured, as does Gov. Walker's signature.
Under the measure, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will issue permits to state residents 21 or over who receive safety training and clear background checks. Permits will cost a maximum of $50 and be valid for five years, with a renewal costing $25.
Senate Bill 93 also reverses the current laws that permitted only unloaded and encased firearms inside vehicles, now allowing loaded and uncased guns in cars.
"This is a great victory for the people of Wisconsin and for the 2nd Amendment," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said in a statement. "The right to protect ourselves by legally carrying a firearm is long overdue and I'm glad we're joining 48 other states with this law—finally."