State of Perpetual Punishment

Provisions tucked into a Republican bill relaxing Wisconsin's concealed carry would allow felons to possess antique firearms. Right now, felons in Wisconsin can't own firearms for the rest of their lives. 

Hunter___Dog_2.jpgWisconsin's constitution (Article I, Section 25) clearly states that “The people” have the right to bear arms for “any lawful purpose.” Do ex-felons stop being people for the rest of their lives? 

Many people believe that most felons are violent. That simply is not true. With mandatory sentencing guidelines, most drug possession charges are felonies. So are check fraud charges, tax offenses, and other frauds. As a result, Wisconsin has a huge group of former felons today who were guilty of victimless crimes and the majority are entirely non-violent. 

My favorite example of an ex-felon is Martha Stewart. In Wisconsin's system of perpetual punishment, she would be prohibited from lawfully exercising her constitutional right to bear arms because of a dispute with federal law enforcement. Who seriously considers her a danger to the community? Libertarians want former lawbreakers who have paid for their crimes to fully become productive and participating parts of our society once again. 

The Wisconsin Legislature needs to bring Wisconsin's laws up to date. Does limiting ex-felons’ choices to antique firearms doesn’t make sense, but at least we can talk about the issues.

 Our constitution must not be brought out only for ceremonial purposes or when convenient. It is for the protection of us all.

The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, the “Party of Principle,” has a platform of beliefs which states, “We believe the right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed. We therefore oppose all laws which tax or otherwise restrict the ownership, open or concealed carry, manufacture, transfer, or sale of firearms or ammunition.” 

by: Jim Maas, Former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin

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