2nd Amendment, hunting initiatives advance
The past week was a good one for those of us who feel strongly about our 2nd Amendment rights. The state Assembly passed the “Castle Doctrine” bill, as well as legislation aimed at preserving and strengthening our hunting heritage.
The Castle Doctrine, also known as the Right to Self-Defense Bill, passed the Assembly on Nov. 1 on a bipartisan 71-24 vote. The bill confirms the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families from a criminal looking to do them harm.
Specifically, the Castle Doctrine increases protections for a homeowner who uses force against an intruder who unlawfully and forcibly enter a person’s home, vehicle or workplace. Under current law, if a resident uses deadly or severe force against an intruder, the burden of proof falls to the law-abiding resident to prove the force was needed to prevent death or harm to himself or others. The Castle Doctrine instead creates an automatic presumption of immunity for the resident if the intruder unlawfully or forcibly entered the dwelling or vehicle. The bill further clarifies that a resident does not have to try to retreat or flee before using force.
I voted for this bill because I believe that it is a fundamental right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves against criminals in their homes and they should have the presumption of innocence. The state Senate also passed the legislation with an amendment the Assembly then approved. If signed by Gov. Walker, Wisconsin would join 29 other states that have Castle Doctrine laws on the books.
On the same day we passed the Castle Doctrine, Wisconsin became the 49th state to allow the concealed carry of weapons. The Department of Justice has started accepting applications for permits. For FAQ’s and the application document, visit the DOJ website at www.doj.state.wi.us.
Finally, I voted in favor of Assembly Bill 311, the Sporting Heritage and Recruitment Bill. Authored by Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, this bill would help preserve and promote Wisconsin’s hunting traditions. Specifically, the bill would establish an ongoing Sporting Recruitment and Retention Task Force, offer reduced fee hunting and trapping licenses to first-time applicants, allow high school credit of 0.5 for successfully completing any DNR Hunter Safety Education program, reward sportsmen and sportswomen who bring new people into the sport with a credit toward future license purchases, and ensure Stewardship land access for outdoor pursuits.
With hunting declining among the younger and older generations, this bill will go a long way toward boosting participation. The bill passed on an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 84-12, and heads to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, represents the 32nd Assembly District. Readers can reach him at (608) 266-1190, Rep.August@legis.wi.gov, or P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708.