By Major Van Harl, USAF Ret.

On 1 November 2011 I got to put my handgun back on. The State of Wisconsinís new concealed carry law went into effect that day and now I am legally allowed to carry a handgun. In Wisconsin, you can now go through the process to get a permit to carry a handgun concealed or you can elect to carry your firearm openly in a holster and that requires no state issued permit.

I have had concealed carry permits in a number of states over the years. The problem with moving with the military is you have to keep going through the permit process every time the Department of Defense moves you to a new state. I went through the process to get an Oklahoma permit while the Colonel was stationed at Altus AFB. When she was transferred to Colorado, I again went through the process to get my permit in Colorado. However, Colorado has had an open carry law forever. Even without a concealed carry permit you could carry a handgun on your hip, travel in your vehicle and then walk around in public and be completely legal.

Oklahoma does not have an open carry law. In order to carry a firearm on a regular basis, you have to have that permit and you have to have the handgun covered and concealed from the eyes of the public.

When I was on duty as a Colorado Ranger, it was not uncommon to interact with citizens of who carried a handgun on their hip; we did not over react. Many of our western states have open carry of handguns laws and have had these in effect for years.

However, the wild west states of Texas and Oklahoma do not have open carry. I am sure John Wayne would be sad to know this.

The big city Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin now has an open carry law and I am not sure most residents of this state know or understand what that means. There has been all kinds of press coverage over the past few months leading up to the activation date of the new law, warning the public of all the dangers of letting average citizens exercise their 2nd amendment right to bear concealed arms. What I have seen little to no press coverage of is the fact I can put a handgun on my person and walk around downtown Milwaukee with that gun showing to the passers-by on the street.

The police department of Milwaukee is not happy about this new law. By the way, an off-duty Milwaukee cop accidentally discharged his gun in a mall today. I wore a gun everyday for four years in Colorado and this gun-carrying thing is old news to me and all of the other 48 states that have some kind of concealed carry law on the books. Illinois is now the only state that does not allow you to carry a firearm to protect yourself and we all know that President is from Illinois. It is amusing to read the Milwaukee newspaper with all the liberal columnists who try to be witty while writing anti-gun articles.

Having had concealed carry permits for 20 years, watching and listening to Wisconsin media attack the concealed carry issue is kind of like watching old black & white TV reruns. For Wisconsin, this is a new age in firearms ownership and carrying rights. I do understand the novelty of this issue for the citizens of this state, but Wisconsin and its liberal, democratically-controlled government dragged itís heals for decades on this issue. It took the total Republican take-over of the state to finely allow its citizens the right to legally protect themselves.

Wisconsin is a recall state. That means if you do not like how an elected politician votes on a bill / law or how they part their hair you can organize a recall and try to remove that elected person from their office prior to the next scheduled election. The liberals are after the Republican governor and the recall process to try and remove him will start in earnest this month. All I can say is thank God the current governor and the combined state legislature provided Wisconsin with its new concealed and open carry laws. It is a cold, cruel world out there and hard times are coming. You have the right to protect yourself and now citizens of Wisconsin have the tools to do just that.

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Copyright 2012 by Major Van Harl and/or chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.