A new plan crafted by Gov. Scott Walker (R) would allow guns in most of Wisconsin’s state Capitol, while most photos would still be banned.
Under the new policy, the public would be allowed to carry concealed weapons in the Assembly viewing galleries, but existing rules barring the use of still and videos camera would not be changed, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Lawmakers could decide if guns are allowed in their individual offices.
“I don’t think there should be weapons in the Capitol,” state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller (D) told the paper. “People should be able to enter public buildings and feel safe… There’s children who come in the building, for Pete’s sake.”
Democrats, who are in the minority, are expected to object when the Assembly Committee on Organization meets Thursday to decide on the policy.
The state Senate also plans to make a decision soon.
Walker signed a law in July that made Wisconsin the 49th state to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons.
“People who carry concealed can come in my office, I don’t care,” state Rep. Robin Vos (R) remarked. The Rochester Republican plans to apply for a concealed-carry permit, but wouldn’t say if he would be bringing the weapon to work.
The Journal Sentinel suggested that the move may be connected to the fact that Republicans felt unsafe during the recent massive protests over Walker’s successful attempt to end the collective bargaining rights of public workers.
A video posted to YouTube in September appeared to show state police arresting a number of protesters who were attempting to film lawmakers.
Last week, a journalist was reportedly arrested when he tried to videotape several protesters, who were also being arrested for having pro-First Amendment signs pinned to their shirts.
Wisconsin state law permits the public to photograph and film open sessions provided they do not interfere with lawmakers.
But Vos saw no contradiction in allowing guns, while the use of cameras remain forbidden.
“You can have a gun in the gallery, but you can’t shoot,” he argued.
Photo: Flickr/Rep. Bruce Braley