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It's been nine long years since the anti-gun leadership in the Wisconsin Senate denied state residents their basic right to carry a firearm for self-defense.

It was March 12, 2002, when Senate Democrats gaveled the session closed two days early in a desperate act to prevent a full and fair vote on the issue. And now, 115,000 violent crime victims and 10,000 rape victims later, Wisconsin voters have had enough.

They said it with their votes last November when they elected pro-gun majorities in the Legislature and a pro-Second Amendment governor in Scott Walker.

While it is true these leaders have been busy addressing daunting budget issues, it is time personal and family safety be given its due. Wisconsin is one of only two states in the nation that doesn't have a concealed carry law.

President Barack Obama's home state of Illinois is the other, and legislators there are considering a Right to Carry bill. In fact, the bill just passed an Illinois legislative committee by a 12-2 margin.

Of course, the gun-ban lobby in Wisconsin in full fear-monger mode. They want you to think that if law-abiding citizens are permitted to effectively defend themselves against violent attackers, mayhem will ensue. They want you to ignore the other 48 states that already have concealed carry laws on the books.

And they definitely want you to ignore states such as Florida, which has issued Right to Carry permits to over 1.95 million people and has only had to revoke permits for less than one one-hundredth of a percent due to firearm-related crimes after licensure.

They want you to ignore states such as Texas, where well over 400,000 residents have permits to carry a firearm, and well under three one-hundredths of a percent of them have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.

These gun control activists certainly don't want you to look at cities such as Chicago and Washington, D.C., where murder and violent crime rates soared after gun bans were imposed, only to drop after the Supreme Court declared these two "gun free zones" unconstitutional.

It's really pretty simple. Law-abiding citizens apply for permits to carry firearms. Criminals carry guns regardless of any law, and they use those guns to commit violent crimes against law-abiding citizens. The more defenseless the citizen, the better for the criminal.

Wisconsin voters have every right to expect swift action from the Legislature. The days of government-mandated victims in the Badger State need to end.

Chris W. Cox is a lobbyist for the NRA.

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