The state Senate approved an amended version of the concealed-carry bill Tuesday that would lift the 130-year-old ban on carrying concealed weapons in Wisconsin.
The changes allow people who meet certain requirements, such as background checks and firearm training, to carry concealed handguns.
The Senate approved the legislation on voice vote and will now send it to the governor for approval. Gov. Jim Doyle has already pledged to veto the legislation if he should receive it.
“People are not safer in Wisconsin walking in crowded shopping malls at Christmas time or coming into the Capitol with weapons,” Doyle recently told the media. “This bill doesn’t make Wisconsin safer.”
The state Assembly voted 64 to 35 last week in favor of the concealed-carry bill, but offered amendments to the final draft mainly meant to pick up additional support from Democrats.
The Senate approved an earlier version of the bill last month. The Republican-controlled Legislature sponsored the bill, introduced by Sen. Dave Zien, R-Eau Claire, and Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford.
Overriding the governor’s veto requires a two-thirds vote by both houses of the Legislature — 66 votes in the Assembly and 22 votes in the Senate. Many believe there is enough support for the measure in the Republican-controlled Legislature that an override veto is very likely.
“It’s going to be difficult to override the governor,” Zien said in an interview with the Eau Claire radio station WAYY/WAXX.
The bill includes exemptions for a number of places, such as airports, taverns, schools, colleges, and churches or places of worship. It also bans weapons in health clinics, nursing homes, restaurants with liquor licenses, and at youth sporting events.
If passed, Wisconsin will become the 45th state in the nation to enact a concealed-carry law.