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Issue of the Week: Debating Concealed Carry

Plus Hero and Jerk of the Week

Jan. 12, 2011
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After the tragedy in Arizona, we are asking Wisconsin lawmakers, who will be introducing legislation to allow people to carry concealed weapons into restaurants and churches, to take a careful look at who, exactly, should be able to own guns and carry them in a concealed manner. We are asking the Republican lawmakers to please listen to those on the front lines, our police chiefs and elected district attorneys, when they craft their legislation.

It’s been widely reported that accused assassin Jared Loughner bought his Glock 19 and ammunition legally. Even after being suspended from community college and being told to get a mental health evaluation, Loughner was able to pass an instant background check and purchase a semiautomatic weapon.

But it’s been less widely reported that Arizona has some of the most lax gun control laws in the country. Arizona Republicans have enacted a number of laws that enable more residents to carry guns in more places. Arizona is now one of just three states that do not require a permit to carry concealed weapons. Guns are allowed in bars and restaurants (if the gun owner isn’t drinking), on school grounds when picking up or dropping off a child, and inside government buildings and the state Capitol. Workers can take their guns to work if they keep them in their locked cars, even if their workplace bans firearms. A Washington Post investigation found that Arizona is a “net exporter” of guns that are seized in crimes, meaning that guns purchased in that state are being used in crimes elsewhere.

According to gun-lobby logic, with all of these guns on Arizona’s streets, a fast-acting concealed weapon carrier should have taken down Loughner. Instead, fast-acting bystanders foiled the shooter without pulling out their weapons as Loughner attempted to reload his Glock.

We’re fully expecting that Wisconsin Republicans will introduce some sort of firearms legislation during this session. We’re asking them to carefully consider the impact of more guns on the streets of Wisconsin—because an Arizona-style free-for-all isn’t going to keep Wisconsin residents safer.

Event of the Week

Dr. Martin Luther King Justice Rally and March

Celebrate the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and honor the former Milwaukee Commandos, who marched with Father James Groppi for open housing in 1967 and 1968, on Monday, Jan. 17. The event will begin at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (1927 N. Fourth St.) at 1 p.m., followed by a four-block march to King’s statue on MLK Drive at 2:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Milwaukee Justice Coalition. For more information, visit www.wnpj.org.

Heroes of the Week

Open Door Café Volunteers

In a city where disturbingly large numbers of citizens live below the poverty line, it is even more important to recognize the people and organizations doing their part to take care of the less fortunate. The parish at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (812 N. Jackson St.) reaches out to the community through several programs, including the Open Door Café.

Originating from a single action in which a priest made a sandwich for a homeless man who had knocked on the door looking for food, the program has evolved into one of the largest meal services in the city. Operating out of the parish’s Weakland Center, the Open Door Café serves midday meals six days a week to area men, women and children. Last year, more than 200 individuals served nearly 57,000 meals. Volunteers come from the parish, the local business community and area schools and churches.

Readers who wish to volunteer at the Cathedral’s Open Door Café are urged to call Rachel at 414-276-9814.

Jerk of the Week

Rep. Paul Ryan

Unfortunately, rising Republican star Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan is beginning to ignore reality in favor of his conservative ideological belief. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has for decades been scrupulously careful to do its calculations as objectively as possible and let the numbers speak for themselves. When the CBO would come back with numbers unfavorable to the Obama administration during the health care reform debate, the Obama administration would go back to the drawing board and change their legislation. When Paul Ryan and his colleagues saw CBO numbers they didn’t like, instead of altering their policy, they attacked the CBO. The CBO, after an exhaustive analysis, came to a conclusion that doesn’t jibe with Ryan’s perception of reality—that repealing the health care law would actually increase the federal deficit by $230 billion—so Ryan bashed the CBO. While this may get Ryan some face time on FOX News, it isn’t honest or consistent. For more than three decades, both Democrats and Republicans understood that they needed a fair referee, the CBO, in order to write honest legislation.


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