Permitless Carry Dangers

How the proposed Permitless Gun Carry bill (SB 169 / AB 247) would change Wisconsin law

The proposed “permitless gun carry” bill would wipe out our current, reasonable regulations of public gun carrying. Specifically, this dangerous bill would:

Eliminate the current requirement for training and a background check prior to carrying a concealed weapon

Eliminate Wisconsin’s current gun-free school zones law, allowing guns on school grounds and in school buildings unless signs have been posted

Mandate that schools must allow guns in cars parked or traveling on school property

Reduce the penalty for illegally carrying firearms in school zones from a felony to a misdemeanor or a fine

Reduce the minimum age requirement to conceal and carry a loaded weapon from 21 to 18


Wisconsinites don’t support permitless gun carrying

Wisconsinites know passing such a law is a bad idea.

• A January 2017 poll conducted by Survey USA found that 91% of Wisconsinites – including 86% of gun owners – support the current law requiring a mandatory permitting process that includes background checks and training.

• In addition, a poll conducted in March and April 2017 by the Pew Research Center found that 81% of Americans are opposed to the notion of allowing concealed carry without a permit, including the two-thirds of Americans who are strongly opposed.


The impact on Wisconsinites

Permitless gun carrying puts everyone in the community at risk by allowing just about anyone to carry a loaded gun in public places, no questions asked.

• Recklessly, the proposed bill could make Wisconsin more dangerous by eliminating the screening process that now occurs when adults apply for concealed carry permits. For example, since 2011, thousands of concealed carry permits were denied or invalidated specifically because the applicant could not pass a background check or had violated state or federal laws.

• Unfortunately, since the 2011 law that legalized concealed gun carrying in our state, firearm suicide and homicide rates have increased, not decreased.


Instead of weakening our gun laws by eliminating the requirement for a permit, background check, and training, Wisconsin should strengthen our current laws.

Recent research has found that concealed carry laws like the one currently on the books in Wisconsin, so-called “right to carry” laws, are associated with smaller decreases in violent crime than in states without these types of laws. These states also tend to have higher and higher rates of violent crime over time after passing “right to carry” laws than would have been expected based on their prior crime rates. On average, five years after passing the law, the average “right to carry” state has an aggregate violent crime rate around 7% higher than expected. After 10 years, the average state’s rate is nearly 15% higher than expected. The concealed carry law itself is found to have caused the higher rates.



For more information on permitless gun carry and guns in schools issues, please visit:
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Concealed Carry of Firearms: Fact vs. Fiction
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Concealed Weapons Permitting
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence/Americans for Responsible Solutions Permitless Concealed Carry Fact Sheet
The Center for American Progress Keeping Wisconsin Schools and Campuses Safe
Everytown for Gun Safety Concealed Handguns in Public with No Permit/Guns in Elementary, Middle, and High Schools Wisconsin Fact Sheet
Everytown for Gun Safety Permitless Carry Facts
Everytown for Gun Safety Guns in Elementary, Middle and High Schools Facts

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Policies to Save Lives


1) Require background checks on all gun sales.  

  • Eight out of ten Wisconsin residents, including gun owners, support a law requiring background checks on all gun sales.[iii]
  • When Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required a background check prior to purchasing a handgun, firearm homicides in the state soared by 25%. That means an additional 49 to 68 people are murdered every year.[ii]
  • In the 10 years following Connecticut’s passage of its law requiring prospective handgun buyers to first obtain a permit -by passing a criminal background check- firearm homicides declined by 40%.[i]
  • In Wisconsin, federally licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check on all firearm sales, but private sellers are not. This private sale loophole allows just about anyone to buy a gun with no background check, no identification, and no questions asked.

2) Prohibit habitual criminals and those with violent misdemeanor convictions      from purchasing or possessing firearms for 10 years.

  • Research shows the clearest predictor of future violence is past violence. A study found that people who lawfully bought handguns, even though they previously had been convicted of two or more violent misdemeanors, were 15 times as likely as handgun purchasers with no criminal history to later be arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault.[i]

3) Create a mechanism that allows for the temporary removal of guns when individuals are at high risk of harming themselves or others.

  • Often after a horrible tragedy, such as a mass shooting or a suicide, family members will report they saw clear warning signs, but there was nothing they could do.
  • The creation of a Lethal Violence Protective Order would give family members and law enforcement officers the means to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit a person from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

4) Reinstate the 48-hour waiting period for handgun sales.

  • Evidence presented in The American Journal of Public Health demonstrates that waiting periods are an effective means of reducing gun suicide. States with a waiting period for handgun sales had 51% fewer firearm suicides per capita.[ii]
  • That same study found, “In 11 states with waiting periods, the longer the waiting period, the lower the gun suicide rate.” [iii]
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