Strapped in the Assembly!
Some see it as an exercise in their First Amendment rights, but others say the ruckus going on in the galleries at the state Capitol have gone way too far.
As politicians debate bills, protesters are yelling. During Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State address, members of the gallery were shouting and being obnoxious. Although people have the right to be angry and to express their views and opinions, there always has to be order and decency in the public forums.
Republican Assemblyman Bill Kramer is frustrated with the disorder. “They were making their comments through coughs and you know swearing at our speakers,” said Kramer. “Out of the 50 people in the gallery I couldn’t pick out the four who were behaving.” As a result of these outbursts, the man who presides over the Wisconsin State Assembly floor sessions now carries a hidden gun to the podium on occasion.
Kramer of Waukesha’s 97th Assembly District says he hopes he never has to use his Glock-26 semi-automatic sub-compact weapon that he carries. He told the Associated Press he needs the gun, considering the intense atmosphere in State Capitol.
Like thousands of other Wisconsinites, Kramer obtained a state concealed carry permit just a couple weeks after the hidden weapons’ law was adopted last November first. Protestors have spent the last year harassing legislators for passing the law which virtually ended collective bargaining by most public employee unions. Finance co-chair Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington) had a beer thrown at him at a Madison restaurant in September. Last month, Governor Scott Walker’s state-of-the-state address was delivered with the sounds of screaming protestors in the nearby Rotunda. And Kramer emptied the Assembly gallery the next day after opponents of the proposed mining law yelled obscenities at legislators. Republican leaders decided to allow concealed weapons in the Assembly galleries — but they’re banned in the Senate’s galleries.
What do you think about our politicians carrying firearms in the State Capital? Please feel free to express your views and opinions in the comments below.