Dr. Tim Nerenz – Moment Of Clarity – Constitutional Carry

This is a great column by Libertarian Dr. Tim Nerenz from his website MOMENT OF CLARITY talking about Constitutional Carry:

May 11, 2011

Constitutional Carry

We had such high hopes in Wisconsin for this new Governor and this legislature. The coalition of conservatives, libertarians, and constitutionalists that turned out the liberals had a few priorities that we did not think would be difficult to achieve in short order, chief among them being removal of the unconstitutional restrictions on carrying firearms.

We are not asking for much; only that law abiding citizens be afforded the same opportunities for self-defense that criminals have enjoyed in this state for decades.

Criminals do not have to secure permits, endure training, buy licenses, or track ammo. Criminals are not subject to restrictions on the caliber, magazine size, or firing mechanism of their weapons. When criminals find themselves in need of a firearm for self-defense, they do not have to dial 911 and then wait for a police officer to show up with one. Criminals have no waiting period; no forms to fill out.

We are only asking that non-criminals be afforded equal rights. The fact that oh-by-the-way concealed carry reduces violent crime is a bonus, but we should not have to prove to anyone that there is a benefit to them in order for our rights to be secured.

The bill to remove all restrictions on owning and carrying firearms in the state of Wisconsin should have been written on one page, debated for a minute, and passed on the first day of the legislative session. You either believe in freedom or you don’t; you either believe in the Constitution or you don’t; you either believe in unalienable rights or you don’t. Liberty does not accept amendments or earmarks.

Wisconsin’s Constitutional Carry Bill, LRB 11-2007-1 has finally been introduced and is co-sponsored by Dr. Pam Galloway, a citizen legislator with whom I was privileged to share a panel during the health care debates of 2009-10. It strikes down all of the provisions of Wisconsin law that infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms. Bravo, Senator Galloway and all who support her.

But her more experienced colleagues have subsequently introduced competing bills which introduce new requirements for training, registration, licensing and other infringements. The author of one of them, Rep. Donald Pridemore, argues that his added red tape is “a reasonable compromise between an individual’s second amendment rights and a modern day application of these rights”.

Dear Rep. Pridemore: no compromise of a right is ever “reasonable”. But thank you for helping me point out the difference between a Republican and a Libertarian. We Libertarians are quite unreasonable when it comes to compromising on unalienable rights. It is a heck of a word to say, so we tend to mean it.

The Constitution of the United States does not grant rights to citizens; it limits the powers of government to infringe on the rights which have already endowed upon us by our Creator. One of those is the right to keep and bear arms, to defend our persons and property in any manner we see fit.

In fact, guns are the only product or service mentioned anywhere in the Constitution. While we also clearly have a right to keep and bear food, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and many other necessary things, the framers did not deem any of them important enough to warn the government against any form of infringement – only guns. Think about that.

Who do you imagine they had in mind that needed to be expressly warned by the 2nd amendment? I’m guessing the same folks who are being warned “hands off” in the other nine. Was the 4th amendment aimed at your neighbor, requiring a warrant before he comes in to borrow a cup of sugar? Was the 5th amendment needed to limit the power of your priest at confession? Was the 1st amendment meant to keep the auctioneer from ignoring your bid?

No. It is government that the founders feared enough to bind by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; and their worst fears of government encroachment on our liberties have come true in our lifetimes. The purpose of the second amendment is to protect us from our government; we will not negotiate the dinner menu with cannibals.

Government officials who swear to uphold and defend the Constitution, and who are expressly prohibited from any form of infringement on the citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms, have amassed so many unconstitutional prohibitions in violation of the oath that it takes Dr. Galloway’s bill 19 pages to list all of them which will be struck moot by adhering to the Constitution in Wisconsin. It is time for us to correct this wrong, and to do so in one fell swoop.

The thing about gun rights is not the guns part, it’s the rights part. We do not require citizens to buy a license and pay for training to vote, speak, worship, assemble, secure their homes, serve on a jury, or petition for redress. Constitutional carry is liberty’s demand, not mine; call your representatives and remind them what they were sent to do last November.

“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website http://www.timnerenz.com to find your moment and watch for the upcoming release of his new book, “Capitalista!”


The public hearings for the Concealed Carry Bills are this Thursday May 12th.  The details are listed below. The Rock River Patriots support CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY only for many reasons.  See our Constitutional Carry post for many of the reasons contained our “Talking Points Memo”.

Another reason to support  CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY is because, as Constitutional Conservatives,  we want to keep government limited in size and scope.  This “permit carry” bill opens the door for more gov’t in our lives.  I thought that is what the Republicans in Wisconsin campaigned on…Limited Government!

While we highly recommend that all gun owners get training,  the training requirement is something that should be VOLUNTARY.  Since 2009 people have been carrying openly in WI without any incident that I am aware of that would be classified as a “training issue”.  There is no no training requirement to open carry.  There is also no training requirement in Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, or Arizona where they have Constitutional Carry.  If any major incidents have happened there, they have not been widely publicized.

.  It seems the leadership doesn’t want this bill to even get a chance to be debated on the floor and voted on.  There is no Constitutional Carry bill that has been submitted in the Assembly. This may be because the Republican Leadership is bowing to the NRA instead of listening to all of the TEA Party/Patriot Groups/2nd Amendment Groups in WI.  Here is an email from one WI Patriot:

The NRA and certain elected officials are selling out Wisconsin’s gun owners and all 2ndAmendment advocates.  That is the only way to describe it when a popular movement is being thwarted and elected official present two nearly identical bills to confuse and divide the population.

In two Journal Sentinel polls, over 16,000 people responded to questions about Concealed Carry.  In the first poll, 81% of 8,400 respondents supported “a Concealed Carry law.”  In the second poll, 64% of 8,200 respondents supported “Constitutional Carry.”  This clearly shows a public mandate for Constitutional Carry.

However, the NRA is promoting the Permitted Carry bill as opposed to the Constitutional Carry bill.  This could be because Constitutional Carry means they won’t be getting any new members to follow their news for updates when the government mandates training they currently claim not to support.  The NRA and others have a vested interest in Permitted Carry and do not want you to exercise the full extent of your Constitutional Rights without paying additional taxes and fees into a massive governmental bureaucracy. 

In a recent NRA-ILA email, they link to their own Summary of the bills and their own “Comprehensive Q&A” file.  They are not telling us everything.  The NRA says Constitutional Carry does nothing to change those onerous Gun Free School Zone (GFSZ) exclusions.  That is incorrect as it specifically eliminates the word “zone” and replaces it with “property.”  This clearly means the exclusion zone is gone and you can only be limited on school property (but this would just apply in Wisconsin – no reciprocity on this as there are Federal GFSZ law that are active in other states).  With either bill, the Federal 1000 foot GFSZ is going to be a problem.

If you want unabridged freedom to exercise your 2nd Amendment Rights, then you need to call your legislator to show support for Constitutional Carry. 

Right now, if you are age 18, you can earn a license to drive a vehicle, buy a vehicle and do both without any special training.

Right now, if you are age 21 and can pass a background check, you can own a gun with no special training.

Right now, if you can own a gun, you can Open Carry without a permit or any special training. 

Right now, criminals and thugs illegally carry concealed weapons without a permit or any special training.

Right now, is the time to show Wisconsin can be Progressive and implement Constitutional Carry.

Your Constitutional Rights should not change when you put on a coat.  It is imperative that we do not accept a watered-down and politically expedient bill that limits our rights and increases the size and scope of big government. 

If you cannot attend one of these public hearings; you need to contact your legislators and request they support the Constitutional Carry bill.  The legislature is pitting us against each other to see which bill gets more support.  Make sure your voice is heard by calling or emailing your legislator and supporting Constitutional Carry.  

Here are the Public Hearings, attend one and promote Constitutional Carry!


Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections

Thursday, May 12 at 10:30 a.m.

State Capitol Building

Room 417 North

Madison, WI

(only the “Permit Carry” bill will be heard)

Senate Committee on Judiciary

Thursday, May 12 at 12:30 p.m.

UW Marathon County

Center for Civic Engagement

625 Stewart Street Wausau, WI

(both the “Constitutional Carry” and “Permit Carry” bills will be heard)

Constitutional Carry Bill Released

Call your representative and tell them to support and co-sponsor the Constitutional Carry Bill – LRB – 2007/1.

What is Constitutional Carry?

Constitutional Carry recognizes the natural God-given right of self-defense to every individual guaranteed by The 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1 Section 25 of the Wisconsin Constitution.  Constitutional Carry allows  for the choice of law abiding citizens to carry openly or carry concealed with a firearm without any government permit and/or training requirement.  48 other states have some form of concealed carry legislation on the books.  The time has come for Wisconsin to recognize the natural rights of its citizens to protect themselves and pass Constitutional Carry legislation.

Not convinced?  Here is our Constitutional Carry Talking Points Memo that helps to answer some of the questions people may have.

Wyoming becomes fourth state to allow concealed carry without permits

Wyoming Adopts “Constitutional Carry” of Firearms

Wyoming becomes fourth state to allow concealed guns without permits

Here’s a good clip of Ted Nugent on The 2nd Amendment:

Innocents Betrayed: The True Story of Gun Control

Rock River Patriots Member – A Letter To Sen. Mary Lazich

Below is a letter from one of our members to State Senator Mary Lazich regarding Constitutional Carry:

Senator Lazich,

Wisconsin presents a principled united front expecting a smaller government/freedom minded approach to the right to carry firearms as our founding fathers derived our freedoms as inalienable rights not given to us by man or government, but by God. You can open-carry right now in Wisconsin for free, with no permit & no government registration. You shouldn’t have to register with the government and pay a permit tax if you want to have your coat/shirt over your sidearm. The criminals don’t abide by open carry laws now as they prey on unsuspecting victims.

Both my wife and I have a combined 29-years experience in the military and thousands of hours of firearms training. We are both veterans of several military conflicts and truly attest to the value of firearms without government restrictions. Statistically speaking, cars kill more people than guns annually. Why subject us or honest law abiding citizens to overbearing rules when our 2nd amendment to the constitution already grants us these rights.

Because of Jim Doyle’s distrust of the people, he twice vetoed Right to Carry legislation during his terms in office. Each time, the bills were passed with two-thirds majorities in both houses. This should have been enough to overcome Doyle’s veto pen, but three Assembly members chose partisan politics over personal protection and shamelessly changed their votes from “yes” to “no” during the two override votes in 2004 and 2006.

Past legislative efforts to secure the Right to Carry always assumed that a veto override would be necessary. Attempting to secure two-thirds majorities required the NRA and other proponents to accept amendments during the legislative process that sought to place additional restrictions on the good citizens of Wisconsin and would have impeded their ability to protect themselves. With the makeup of the incoming legislature, these unnecessary concessions should no longer be necessary.

SHALL ISSUE PERMIT SYSTEMS are obsolete. That is the old-school 1990’s appeasement method of procuring your right to carry. Haven’t we in Wisconsin been behind the times long enough.

The facts of what constitutional carry means:

Constitutional Carry means that law-abiding citizens not legally prohibited from owning a firearm do not have to obtain a government permit to legally conceal carry. No expensive permit taxes, no expensive renewal taxes, no government registration, no expensive mandatory training classes, no fingerprinting. 3 states currently respect Constitutional Carry (Arizona, Alaska, and Vermont) with TX and UT soon to follow. With shall-issue being the ‘minimum’ Wisconsin will pass in the next legislative session, Wisconsin Carry, on behalf of our thousands of members statewide is advocating the Wisconsin legislature pass Constitutional Carry for the following reasons:

-A law abiding citizen shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for permit taxes, and mandatory government training to exercise a fundamental constitutional right. The prohibitive expense will suppress the right to carry of many. -There is no legitimate reason to require mandatory training. Pennsylvania, Washington, Georgia combined have well over 1 million permit holders. None had to get mandatory training. There are NO problems as a result. Florida and Virginia which have only the most basic of training requirements (Hunter Safety certificate from middle school/online video and short test) have almost 1 million permit holders between them. NO problems result from no mandatory training. Most gun owners already have extensive training and experience. Others will surely seek voluntary training. Mandatory training being a necessity for public safety is yet ANOTHER GUN MYTH perpetuated by those who seek to infringe on the right to carry OR those who stand to gain financially by a mandatory government training requirement.In order to bring Constitutional Carry to Wisconsin, there are 3 MAJOR laws that would need to be repealed/revised. Simply repealing or revising these laws would allow all LAW ABIDING citizens who are non-felons and not otherwise prohibited from owning/possessing a gun to conceal carry without a permit, without government registration, and without expensive permit taxes, expensive government mandated training classes, and renewal taxes.

The roadmap ahead in your key constitutional carry vote:

Law #1: Repeal Wisconsin Statute 941.23: This is Wisconsin’s 130+ year old “conceal carry ban”. The legislature need simply repeal this law to allow law abiding citizens to conceal carry without permits and taxes JUST as they can currently open carry without permits and taxes. Thousands of Wisconsinites open carry every day with no permit, no permit taxes, and no government registration required. Why should you have to pay permit taxes, and register with the government just to put a jacket over your sidearm?

Law #2: Repeal or alter Wisconsin Statute 167.31: This is Wisconsin’s “vehicle transport” statute. This law states that in a vehicle, you must transport a gun “unloaded and in a case”. Watching the nightly news, it is CLEAR with car-jackings and other assaults upon people in OR near their vehicle, that one should not have to give up their right to self-defense when they are in their car. Having to load and unload and case your gun EVERY time you exit/enter your vehicle requires you to unnecessarily handle/load/unload your weapon dozens of times a day in parking lots and other public places. The SAFEST place for your loaded gun will ALWAYS be IN A HOLSTER, not being unnecessarily handled. In addition, having to unload and encase when you get in your car makes you an easy target for a criminal and places you in grave danger if, in a life or death situation, you had to take time to get your gun out of its case and load it. This law was originally intended to prevent hunting from a vehicle. At a minimum the law should be altered to exempt “any handgun carried for self-defense” or better yet, just repealed all together.

Law #3: Repeal or alter Wisconsin’s “Gun Free School Zone” statute: This well intentioned, but useless law prohibits possession of a gun within 1000ft of a school premises. This means that when you are within nearly 1⁄4 mile of a school, you may not possess a firearm. Clearly, this law has not prevented criminals from committing crimes within these zones. With hundreds of thousands, perhaps MILLIONS of Wisconsin residents living within 1⁄4 mile of a school, it is unconscionable that they should not be allowed to carry for self-defense when they walk off of their own property and around their neighborhood. Wisconsin Carry, Inc. currently has a FEDERAL lawsuit filed to challenge the constitutionality of this law, but we should not wait for that case to work itself through the court system. AT A MINIMUM the legislature should adjust the “school zone” to SCHOOL PROPERTY only or even better, just repeal the law all together.

Make the informed constitutional carry choice, vote for the constitutional carry and repeal Laws #1 to #3.

Brian Bell

New Berlin, WI

Ps. I voted for you in your last election, going forward will decide my future vote!

Great Video On Gun Rights