The Wisconsin legislature passed a concealed carry law Wednesday that could put concealed carry permits in the hands of only those who have passed the state’s background check process.
The bill is the latest effort to make Wisconsin a more welcoming place for gun owners, but it is a long shot to become law.
Gun rights advocates have already raised serious questions about the law’s constitutionality, saying the law is unconstitutional because it is not mandatory and could be challenged by states that do not require concealed carry.
The state’s Senate passed the bill with a 67-31 vote, but Gov.
Scott Walker, a Republican, has refused to sign it into law.
“I don’t see how we’re going to make our state more welcoming for concealed carry holders,” Walker said.
The measure would allow individuals to buy a concealed weapon permit with a credit card or a check, rather than with a license, and the state could require concealed carriers to carry a gun in public in addition to carrying a gun on public property.
The law also prohibits anyone from carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle.
The Wisconsin State Police issued an advisory earlier this week, warning that anyone with a concealed gun permit would be subject to “potentially lethal consequences” for carrying a weapon.
“It is extremely important that people who have concealed carry licenses in Wisconsin be able to do what they want to do with them,” said Shannon Watts, president of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Rifle Association, which has long pushed for concealed handgun laws.
The bill also allows the state to deny concealed carry applications based on a person’s age, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, or whether they have a “good cause” for a concealed handgun permit.
It also bans the carrying of firearms while on the job, in public, or in schools.
The proposal was passed in the face of criticism from gun rights groups, including the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which said it was concerned that the bill would undermine protections for public safety.
“The legislation’s language could easily be interpreted as discriminating against persons with a mental health disorder,” said S. Todd Staples, president and CEO of the NSSF, a nonprofit advocacy group.
“Such language could be interpreted to deny qualified applicants the right to bear arms.
Such language could also be interpreted not to protect public safety, as it allows the right of the legislature to regulate concealed carry in ways that are clearly unconstitutional.”
Gun control advocates are also concerned about how the new law will be enforced.
The legislation will require Wisconsin residents to show proof of a background check to get a concealed weapons permit, and it prohibits concealed carry at schools.
That means any school that allows guns in classrooms will likely be subject, and those who do not will face a criminal penalty.
The new law also makes it a crime to “unlawfully possess” a firearm.
The governor has said he wants to see Wisconsin become a “sanctuary state,” but critics say it’s not enough.
Gun rights advocates say they plan to challenge the law in court.
They are hopeful the legislature will pass another bill in the coming weeks that would protect their rights.