Tuesday came and went without an Assembly vote to repeal Gov. Jim Doyle’s conceal-and-carry veto as Republican leaders allegedly postponed voting until this Thursday to secure more votes to override.
Assembly Speaker John Gard, R-Peshtigo, said the Assembly would delay voting on the action in order to “pass a good law.”
Gard’s press secretary, Steve Bass, said although legislators have been pressured by constituents to approve the legislation quickly, the vote was delayed Tuesday to ensure the passing of effective legislation.
“There is in no way a time crunch for the passage of this legislation,” Bass said.
Bass said bipartisan support is needed for the override’s passage, since the concealed-weapons bill was short of securing a two-thirds majority by two votes when it first passed the Assembly last year.
Concealed-carry supporters felt some Assembly members were “wiggly” about which way they were going to vote. According to some legislators, Republican leadership decided to pull voting on the bill Tuesday to ensure a successful override and avoid further conceal-and-carry legislation battles in the future.
“There wasn’t enough bipartisan support for the passage of this bill within the Assembly today, so it will be brought before the floor on Thursday,” said Erin Nuutinin, a spokesperson for Assembly Democratic Minority Leader James Kreuser.
Gov. Doyle held a press conference with state law-enforcement officials Tuesday morning at the State Capitol to urge the Assembly to uphold his veto.
“Today, members of the Assembly face a pretty basic choice: stand with law enforcement and protect public safety, or stand with the gun lobby,” Doyle said.
Gov. Doyle argued against the conceal-and-carry bill, labeling it “too extreme” because it significantly lowers penalties on people who tote loaded weapons under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
However, proponents of the override disagree, claiming the right to carry a concealed weapon is necessary for the safety of Wisconsin citizens.
“This legislation allows trusting citizens who want the right to protect themselves to be able to do so without fear of breaking the law,” Bass said. “The typical criminal isn’t looking for a confrontation when selecting a potential victim; they’re looking for an easy mark. This proposed legislation gives those potential victims the choice of defending themselves without fear of assault, rape, or worse.”
The Senate overturned Gov. Doyle’s veto of the bill last Thursday, securing passage of the override Tuesday as a two-thirds majority in the Assembly. If the concealed-weapons override passes Assembly Thursday, it will be the first time in 20 years that a Wisconsin governor’s full-ride veto has been overturned.
The gun legislation grants citizens the right to carry a handgun for self-defense. Some Wisconsin policymakers, however, are not convinced the bill can prevent violent crime.
46 states currently have right-to-carry firearm laws.