TOMBSTONE, WISCONSIN -- Soon, that won't just mean pizza | Wis.Community

TOMBSTONE, WISCONSIN -- Soon, that won't just mean pizza

[img_assist|nid=50304|title=Whaddya want on your Tombstone?|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=134]Check your brains at the door, please. Your guns? No problemo.

Welcome back to the wild west, when smart tavern owners made thirsty, ornery cowpokes check their six shooters at the door. Only, some Wisconsin legislators aren't even thinking things through that carefully.

State Senator Pam Galloway and her GOP pals seem on the verge of enacting concealed-carry gun law in Wisconsin, a law Gov. Scott Walker surely would sign. And here's the big bulletin in that development: Common sense need not apply.

Galloway actually argues that, unlike Wisconsin hunters, people who decide to carry concealed guns don't need any special permitting or training because hunters always intend to use their guns, whereas people carrying concealed guns are responsible and hope never to have to use theirs. One hundred percent of the time. Appearing on WISN-TV's "Up Front" public affairs program, the Wausau Republican said, "It doesn't make any sense to have a one-size-fits-all permitting process or training mandate."

Well. That's so very reassuring. Galloway and the bill's other authors and endorsers seem certain that people who want to carry guns wherever they go are always utterly rational and never get emotional or angry or exhibit bad judgment (that is, bad judgment in addition to wearing hidden guns everywhere).

Where might this end up taking our currently low-crime state? State Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) offered one example. He said he's a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan and enjoys watching games at Miller Park, but, "The only thing that screws it up is Cubs fans. Now I have to worry about Cubs fans in the parking lot or in the game with a concealed weapon."

That is a scary thought, even if Larson was being somewhat tongue in cheek. Actually, we loves us some Cubbies fans, but the principle still applies. Most gun injuries in this country involve shootings among family members at home, often during arguments. Emotions outrun the reasoned-logic stage and at some point, out come the weapons. Now that may become more likely everywhere in Wisconsin.

Well, not everywhere. The two versions of the concealed-carry law now being considered do prohibit hidden handguns in police stations, government buildings, schools, and airports. On the other hand, Second Amendment freaks have been busy arguing they should be able to carry weapons very close to a school building. Because you never know when someone with a gun might be standing very close to a school building. Besides yourself, of course.

Notice the cognitive dissonance, here. In Galloway-think, everyone is safer if almost anyone in Wisconsin can carry concealed weapons pretty much anywhere -- except, among other places, the government building where lawmakers who want to enact such a law do their jobs. Because, hey, even Galloway knows those buildings wouldn't be safe without security. Everyone else, though, is pretty much on their own.

"It's ironic that legislators would exclude guns from their workplace, the state Capitol, but not think about the safety risks inherent at locations where some of the our most vulnerable community members seek safety and help," said Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

It gets worse. The concealed-carry laws now under review would let people carry concealed handguns onto private business property. Businesses would have the "option" of prohibiting conealed guns on their premises and could ask customers and others to leave their weapons outside, such as in their automobiles. 

But what about Ronald Reagan's famous line about disarmament -- that we should "trust, but verify"? Should a tavern or a shoe store or sports arena take people at their word when they say they're not packing hidden heat? Or maybe they should set up their own, private version of the Transportation Security Administration, screening entrants with metal detectors and pat-downs. Oh, yeah, that'll go down good with the Second Amendment freaks.

In short, Galloway and others who plan to vote concealed-carry into law appear to accept faith-based gun control. 

Sen. Larson, who is totally against concealed carry, says that instead of forcing businesses to say they don't want guns on their premises, any such law at least should make it the other way around: A business should have to say it accepts visitors wearing hidden guns.

And, hey, maybe we'll even have some businesses that insist, like that little town in the deep south, that you can't come in unless you're packing heat. Wouldn't it be great to know? But by definition, "concealed" means you'll never know for sure. And that uncertainty gives the authoritarians in our government great certaintude, for some screwball reason.

The "Up Front" segment featuring Galloway and Larson can be viewed here:


May 15, 2011 - 11:25am