Thursday’s Assembly Organization Committee meeting – which was supposed to discuss how and where concealed weapons would be allowed in the Assembly chamber – was cancelled. According to channel3000, Walker said he’d release policy on concealed weapons in state buildings today, Friday 10/28. This is a tad bit important because a new conceal carry law in Wisconsin goes into effect on November 1st.
But I attended a 4PM Assembly committee meeting where reporters patiently observed proceedings and then cornered Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald to get clues.
He wound up saying some variation on “law abiding citizens should be able to come in and protect themselves” 3 times. Essentially, he didn’t have any strong feelings one way or the other whether metal detectors should be there but he’s DAMN sure he wants the guns to be there.
Fitzgerald also said [this is from my audio recording which I took while standing behind Fitzgerald’s bouncers, I mean, “staff”]:
“We’ve heard from the other side of the aisle that we want the building to be open and to be able to be here. Well if that’s the case then we also want law abiding citizens to come in and protect themselves.”
In his mind when the Capitol has no metal detectors “the other side of the aisle” wants anybody who could be bringing in a weapon illegally to be there. So if that’s the default position, then if people can bring in conceal carry weapons on November 1st they can protect themselves against all these illegal weapons that are potentially floating in.
“Anybody could walk in the Capitol with a gun right now and could be doing it illegally. As it is right now I would rather have law abiding citizens that go through a course be able to protect themselves than just have somebody up in the gallery do what they can do currently.”
As he walked out, my friend Nicole called out, “Do you live in fear?” He flinched a little but remained silent.
And Whitney-another friend – said, loudly, “Coward.”
Backup link to video
“Come on. All the kids are doing it!”
Channel3000 talked to Walker: “There are plenty of states that allow (conceal and carry) access to public buildings and they have not had problems with that,” Walker said. “We don’t anticipate any problems here in Wisconsin.”
Really? According to channel3000 “Wisconsin would join nine other states that currently allow concealed weapons in their capitols”
Does “plenty”=”9”? Hmmm. Makes me wonder about the accuracy of the “and they have not had problems” portion of the statement.
Assembly looking like a “yes”. Senate looking like a “no”.
Given comments from Assemblyman Fitzgerald, I think there will be guns in the Assembly but given this email from Wellhouse, looks like state senators could pack a gun but not those citizens who come in to observe them:
“Spokesman Andrew Welhouse said in an email on Thursday afternoon the Senate’s organizational committee will vote on a plan to allow hidden weapons on the Senate floor and at committee meetings, but ban them in the Senate galleries.”
Perhaps just sucking up to his NRA friends or being the usual charm-deprived individual he has ALWAYS shown himself to be, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told WISC-TV that if he had it his way, no space inside the Capitol would be off-limits for those who carry concealed weapons.
The Supreme Court hearing room will likely not allow for weapons since the concealed carry law doesn’t allow weapons in courtrooms. There are multiple reports that individual legislators will determine whether weapons will come into their own offices.
In my net browsings, I learned it will be just fine to bring your new conceal carry gun to Robin Vos’ office, and to the offices of Fitzie 1 and 2. But Mike Ellis does not want you to bring a weapon in his office.
So I’m trying to imagine how this will work. I can picture a secretary in an office calling for Capitol police to come and babysit a pistol so a constituent can talk to his legislator. After which the officer will stand in a designated station so the gun-loving citizen can quickly arm himself once again when he comes out of the office before walking through the building? Or will an officer have to escort each citizen between the Capitol police station in the building’s basement and the legislator’s office after checking in each pistol in question?
Whatever works, I guess. Because I wouldn’t want these gun-loving people to feel insecure at any point in their visit.