Felzkowski bills would allow carrying of concealed firearms without licenses, hunting of sandhill cranes
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
WISCONSIN – State Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Tomahawk) on Wednesday, Oct. 6 announced that she had authored two pieces of legislation included in the “Sporting Freedom” bill package, 13 bills written by Republican lawmakers that she said aim to “promote hunting and fishing in the state, protect the rights of sportsmen and women, as well as ensure that our natural resources are responsibly maintained.”
One bill authored by Felzkowski would allow Wisconsin residents to carry a concealed firearm without a license. In a release, Felzkowski said allowing “law-abiding citizens” to do so “(reflects) the constitutional right to carry a weapon in self-defense.”
The proposal would also allow residents to carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow while operating an ATV or UTV and while shining wildlife, the release said.
“Written into the very fabric of the United States Constitution is the unquestionable right that citizens of this country keep and bear arms,” Felzkowski stated in the release. “This is similarly mirrored in the Wisconsin Constitution where it states that ‘The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose.’ Nowhere is it written that the citizens of Wisconsin must undergo any sort of registration before they are able to carry a firearm for their own protection, as well as for the protection of their loved ones. This bill reaffirms the rights and liberties of Wisconsinites to carry a weapon without the overreach of government.”
The second bill would require the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to authorize the hunting of sandhill cranes, a species that has been protected in the state for more than a century.
In the 1930s, there were roughly 24 breeding pairs of sandhill cranes in the state. Today, there are roughly 95,000 sandhill cranes in the Eastern Population, which covers Wisconsin, Michigan and adjacent states, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Eastern Population is one of six managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Unfortunately, farmers throughout the state have experienced thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to their crops caused by sandhill cranes,” Felzkowski stated. “This bill would require the DNR to authorize the well-regulated hunting of sandhill cranes to keep this population in check, and ensure that the livelihood of farmers is not negatively impacted by these birds.”
Governor Tony Evers did not immediately say whether or not he would support any or all of the bills included in the package.
Evers has previously called for stricter gun regulations.