Bill would allow hidden weapons without license in Wisconsin

Bill would allow hidden weapons without license in Wisconsin

Hidden handguns could be legally carried without a license in Wisconsin under a far-reaching, Republican-backed proposal being circulated for co-sponsors.

The bill unveiled Tuesday would also allow licensed concealed carry permit holders to bring firearms into places where they are currently barred, including school buildings, unless signs are posted prohibiting them.

Bill co-sponsor Republican Rep. Mary Felzkowski said its intent is to remove the “barrier of the concealed carry permit” so people can exercise their constitutional right to carry a gun.

The measure would also create a new concealed carry license that doesn’t require holders to pass a gun training course.

Proponents of the legislation said it would eliminate the time and cost of acquiring a concealed carry permit.

“What current law says right now is that you can go to your local firearms store and you can purchase a handgun, pass a background check and you can wear that handgun in the open,” said Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R- Irma. “What state law does not allow you to do is put on a coat. What this law does is allow you to put on a coat without a permit.”

Opponents said in eliminating that time and cost barrier, it would put communities at risk to gun violence.

“This piece of legislation is dangerous, and it is quite frankly making a mockery out of victims of gun violence in the state of Wisconsin,” said Rep. Melissa Sargent, D- Madison. “People all across Wisconsin have spoken out saying that they support common sense gun safety and this bill moves us in the wrong direction.”

It’s unclear whether the measure has enough support among Republicans who control the Legislature to pass this session.