For gun advocates, the ability to carry concealed guns as opposed to openly displayed ones is often a matter of practicality. In the winter, they must make sure their coat doesn't cover the firearm so it remains visible.
"Same thing if it's raining," says Hubert Hoffman, vice president of Wisconsin Carry. "If I'm carrying a $500 firearm, I'd like it not to get wet when it's raining."
Besides, says Hoffman, "There are some people who prefer not to be gawked at" when carrying a weapon in public.
Gov.-elect Scott Walker has expressed support for concealed-carry legislation, and with both chambers controlled by Republicans, it seems almost certain to pass. But what will it allow people to do?
Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) has regularly sponsored concealed-carry legislation (as well as a bill that would lower the hunting age to 8). A spokesman from his office says that although the first priority of the next session will be jobs and the economy, Gunderson plans to eventually submit a bill permitting concealed carry.
The last such bill he introduced would have allowed the state Department of Justice to issues licenses to people wanting to carry a concealed weapon -- defined as a handgun, electronic weapon, knife other than a switchblade, or billy club -- except in places where such weapons are prohibited, including government buildings, school zones and state parks.
To qualify for a license, an applicant would have to be a Wisconsin resident age 21 or older, be physically able to safely handle a weapon and pass a federal background check. Licenses could also be denied on the basis of mental instability, substance abuse and pending charges. As proposed, the license would be good for five years and cost $75.
Auric Gold, a member of Wisconsin Carry, says the legislation is better than nothing, though he's not fond of the licensing requirements.
"Carrying a firearm is a constitutional right," he says. "I can't think of another constitutional right that comes with a requirement to take a class or get a permit."
The prohibition on concealed carry in Wisconsin is also under assault in the courts. Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon M. Counsell ruled in October that the state's ban on concealed weapons was unconstitutional. The ruling is likely to be appealed.