Penebaker: Permitless carry bill would make Wisconsin a more dangerous place
On Sept. 8, 1979, she left a note, drove on the freeway, sat in the car by herself and pulled the trigger. My mom, Joyce, was only 27 years old when she shot and killed herself. I don’t remember anything about her.
I don’t know what my mother’s voice sounds like, what her smell or touch is like. All I have are a few faded pictures and a death certificate. I don’t remember what Christmas morning was like with her or what her fun things to do with me were. My mom missed me earning an athletic scholarship to college. She missed the births of my three kids and my wedding to my beautiful wife. She missed every mistake and every success I’ve ever had.
In Wisconsin, we experienced more than 600 gun deaths in 2015 alone, and nearly 70% of those gun deaths were gun suicides like my mom. Southeastern Wisconsin, particularly Milwaukee, has experienced a deadly amount of gun violence that claimed the lives of 250 people from 2015 to 2016, according to the Journal Sentinel. These aren’t just statistics, these numbers represent the pain that nearly 600 families have endured, families that now join the loneliest club. When you see these numbers and then you meet the families behind the statistics, you understand that the deadly epidemic of gun violence is more than the black-and-white figures on a piece of paper.
But instead of taking meaningful action to reduce gun deaths, some of our representatives in Madison are trying to weaken our existing gun laws. There’s a gun bill being considered in the statehouse, SB 169, that instead of doing anything to make us safer would instead eliminate our permit requirement for concealed carry — taking away a basic safety standard that helps law enforcement ensure that people carrying handguns in public have clean criminal records and safety training.
Wisconsin’s Professional Police Association opposes this proposal on the ground that it eliminates the current training requirement. Recent polling shows a majority (86%) of Wisconsin gun owners think you should have a permit and safety training to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public.