Sherman's Retreat


Last week the Wisconsin legislature fell one vote short of overriding Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of legislation that would have allowed residents to carry concealed handguns. The override, which passed the state Senate in January, failed in the Assembly when one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Gary Sherman, switched sides at the last minute to prevent an embarrassing defeat for the governor, a fellow Democrat. The National Rifle Association, which plans to target Sherman for defeat in this November's elections, emphasizes how the legislator betrayed his own avowed principles, quoting from an op-ed piece he wrote last fall:

In my very first assembly campaign in 1998, I made my support for concealed carry clear and I have not changed my position…. People who are unconcerned about obeying the law are not deterred from carrying concealed weapons now…. As things stand now, only those of us who are determined to obey the law cannot carry concealed weapons. These permitting laws exist in 45 of our 50 states. Based upon this extensive experience, there is no evidence that issuing permits to properly trained people, who have been carefully checked to see if there is some reason why they should not be trusted with a firearm, will increase the risk of gun violence for the rest of us. In the absence of such evidence, there is no compelling reason why such people should be denied the privilege of doing so. In America, it is not necessary to prove the opposite, that there is a compelling reason for doing so. The mere absence of a compelling reason for limiting people`s liberty is enough.