Wisconsin was one of the last states to create a permit system for legal concealed carry of weapons. Permits were first issued in November, 2011. Five years later, 319,069 Wisconsin residents had permits.
To obtain a permit, the applicant had to be 21 years old or older, a legal Wisconsin resident, and not convicted of any felonies or misdemeanor acts of domestic violence.
People who go to the trouble to obtain a permit are serious about their Second Amendment rights. In Wisconsin, probably half are Democrats and Independents. CCW permit holders are, as a group, some of the most law abiding people in America.
My experience as a concealed carry instructor showed me they these people are ultra responsible. They show up early. They offer to help out. They offer to clean up. I never had a problem with bad checks, in fifteen years.
My experience was that most are not NRA members. Most are not hunters. Most are gun owners. A significant number are veterans or have experience with law enforcement. They tend to be older, experienced, people. About 20 percent are women.
These people are voters, and they vote. I believe they vote in very large numbers, probably in excess of 80 percent.
The 2016 general election in Wisconsin was down a bit from 2012. There were 3.068 million votes cast for presidential candidates in 2012. The 2016 election had 2.944 million votes cast, down about four percent.
The difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin was 27,257 votes. That is less than 9% of the concealed carry permit holders in the state. In 2016, Donald Trump actively courted Second Amendment supporters. He actively courted concealed carry permit holders. He bragged about having a concealed carry permit. He promised that a priority of his administration would be to pass national concealed carry reciprocity, something desired by the vast majority of CCW permit holders.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton made “common sense” gun control a major plank in her platform. Her euphemism might have gotten a pass from a majority of people who do not own guns. It would not have gotten a pass with informed gun owners, which, includes, almost be definition, people who have a concealed carry permit.
Support for the Second Amendment was not a pivotal issue in the 2012 election. Most Second Amendment supporters were not enthusiastic about Mitt Romney. President Obama did not push for more gun control with any enthusiasm, until after the election.
Wisconsin only had one year of its shall issue concealed carry program in effect by election night, 2012. By election night 2016, it had over 319,000 concealed carry permit holders.
They made a difference. Was it enough to swing the election? It is impossible to know. But when Democrats explicitly endorse gun control, they lose, and they lose bigly (big league).
Donald Trump pulled off the biggest upset of presidential politics since Truman. Part of his campaign was to actively pursue Second Amendment supporters.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.