When the Wisconsin Attorney General's office released the rules related to the new concealed carry law, it listed a fee that would be charged to cover a background check. That fee was listed as being $13, which tells me that they plan on using their own Crime Information Bureau (CIB) database to do that check. That database is a great tool for identifying any adult arrests and resulting court actions in Wisconsin. However it only gives you a record for adult arrests in Wisconsin. What if a person applies for a concealed carry permit and they have a record in another state that might otherwise disqualify them? How will the Department of Justice know if they only use a Wisconsin database to do the background check?
Recently we also learned that Wisconsin will honor concealed carry permits from at least 25 other states. This is another area where we should watch for loophole related problems down the road. Essentially we are owning the process in all of those 25 states including every lax rule. It will take time to discover the various loopholes that will open as a result of honoring permits from those 25 states.
Wisconsin is set to honor permits from Utah for example. Even the relatively gun happy state of Nevada decided to stop honoring Utah's concealed carry permits because of the lax rules. Some have actually described Utah's concealed carry law as being a mail order approach that has attracted applicants from all over the country. Wisconsin's choice to honor their permits forces us to also honor all of their loopholes and any problems that they might bring.
Last week Milwaukee's Shepherd Express ran a story about the new concealed carry law. In that story they reported several concerns that Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn had concerning it. He said that thousands of career criminals who have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors would qualify for a concealed carry permit because they are not convicted felons. They can carry a hidden handgun even though they are a literal menace to public safety. Flynn also said that almost half of those convicted of homicides in 2011 would have been eligible for concealed weapons permits because they had not been convicted of a felony prior to committing murder. For the same reason he further said that about 75% of convicted robbers could get a permit at the time of their crime.
The bottom line here is that Wisconsin legislators were in such a frenzy to pass concealed carry legislation that they failed to fully address these and other concerns. Unfortunately they were more concerned with pleasing a political base than they were concerned with carefully forming sound public policy. The various loopholes in Wisconsin's new concealed carry law will eventually become clear. Hopefully that clarity will not come at too great of a cost and hopefully our legislators will have the courage to make the necessary changes.