Gun Permit Controversy
A controversy is brewing over whether to publish the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders. Video by nbc26.comvideo
Green Bay, WI - A controversy is brewing over whether to publish the names and addresses of concealed carry permit holders. Wisconsin is one of 20 states that does not allow access to those records leaving some begging the question, "Who's keeping the permit holders accountable"?
John Pratt, Owner of Pratt Security in Green Bay said "The whole idea of having a concealed weapon is to conceal." Pratt has been teaching people how to use a gun since 1979. He's against the idea of a published list of concealed-carry permit holders. "It would be an open invitation to criminals to have a list published of who has a permit."
As a former police officer, Pratt dismissed concerns that withholding such information, is harmful to the public's safety. "If you've gone through and jumped through all the hoops to legally acquire concealed carry license, why on earth would anybody be worried about that?"
But some advocacy groups disagree. Jeri Bonavia, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort said "At least there should be enough information released on whether or not this entire system is working as promised or whether there's actually deep flaws in it."
Bonavia said she's not calling for complete public access, but a specialized one; just for academic researchers. "They can let us know whether, for example, concealed weapons permit holders are more likely or less likely to be involved in criminal activity than the general public."
Still, even limited access makes some permit holders nervous. Gary Gast, a Retired Shooter from De Pere said "I feel that would put people who have a concealed carry in danger, it's infringement on their rights and freedom." John Pratt agreed. He said his private life should be respected.
Other states like Texas and Kentucky do allow limited access to those concealed carry records, while a total of 25 states allow complete public access. As of now Wisconsin's Department of Justice will continue to keep their list private.