‘Conceal’ veto to remain upheld

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Squandering efforts made by the state Senate, the state Assembly voted to uphold Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of the conceal-and-carry bill Tuesday.

The Assembly vote came to 65 to 34, just a vote shy of the required two-thirds of the Assembly needed to override Doyle's veto.

The bill, which would allow citizens registered with the Wisconsin Department of Justice to carry concealed weapons in most public places, was sent to the Assembly after the Senate voted 23 to 10 to block Doyle's veto of the bill two weeks ago. The Assembly was expected to vote whether or not to override last Tuesday, but the vote was pushed back by Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo).

Gard, a proponent of conceal-and-carry, issued a statement saying the Assembly's vote was "a victory for partisanship over principle on one individual issue from today's legislative calendar."

"I hope principle will prevail on the dozens of other items we will be taking up today," Gard said. "I believe that law-abiding citizens can be trusted to exercise their liberties — including their constitutional right to keep and bear arms — responsibly."

Doyle, a long-time opponent of the bill, thanked Assembly members in a statement for sustaining his veto of the bill.

"Today's vote is a victory for law enforcement and safety of our citizens," Doyle said. "The vote ensures that we will not let lethal weapons into … public places where our kids would be in danger."

Although he supports the conceal-and-carry measure, Rep. Gary Sherman (D-Port Wing) said in a statement that he voted against overriding Doyle in Tuesday's vote because he did not want to become a "tool" in Republican's "efforts to cripple the ability of the minority to have a reasonable voice in making public policy in Wisconsin."

Sherman also said the bill is neither a bi-partisan nor non-partisan effort.

"From the start there was no attempt to negotiate with the legislative Democrats or the governor over the basic substance of the bill," Sherman said.

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