Walking past a man putting groceries in his car, you see as he leans forward that the butt of a 9mm handgun is sticking out of his jacket. Do you call the police? Maybe not.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a version of the concealed carry bill Wednesday that allows those over the age of 21 to carry concealed weapons without any training or permits. Fox Point and Bayside police chiefs take different sides on the issue of residents running with guns.
"We don’t need any more guns out on the street right now," Fox Point Chief Tom Czaja said. "We have enough guns on the street. If people are carrying a concealed weapon, an argument could ensue where a person might take that out. In the heat of an argument, somebody may pull that out."
However, Bayside Chief Bruce Resnick says that "bad guys" already carry guns concealed, so there won't be much of a difference.
"Personally, I think it’s overblown and I don’t think it’s a big issue," Resnick said. "Bad people that want to carry guns, carry guns. Crooks carry guns, I mean that’s what they do, and they don’t have a permit to do it, and they will never get a permit to do it."
Resnick is in support of concealed carry providing there's training and permits required. However, the version of the concealed carry bill that took its first step toward becoming a law Wednesday does not require either a permit, or training. Wisconsin and Illinois were the last two remaining states to not allow concealed carrying of guns.
State Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) said in her May issue of the Capitol Update that she is against all versions of concealed carry.
"It makes no sense to adopt the policies of states that have more crime, more violence and more gun deaths, as research shows that allowing more people to carry concealed weapons in more places will only lead to more tragedies within our communities," Pasch wrote.
Czaja echoed Pasch's concerns explaining that from what he has seen, there are higher violent crime rates in lenient gun-carrying-law states.
"Right now, we have to accept that this law is going to be passed. If it is passed, people need permits and need to go through training," Czaja said.
Both Czaja and Resnick mentioned the difference between annual firearms training for officers versus the proposed every five-year training for civilians. Neither thought every five years was sufficient.
"If you’re going to carry a weapon, you need to understand what the ramifications are," Resnick said. "That’s a huge responsibility."
Bills supporting concealed carry have gone up for vote twice before, and both times have been vetoed by former Gov. Jim Doyle.