Move to fix training requirement imposed in Wisconsin
Applicants to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin will no longer have to complete four hours of training, after a Republican-controlled legislative committee voted Monday to do away with a requirement that had been assailed by the National Rifle Association as being too strict.
The rule mandating the successful completion of at least four hours of training had been put in place by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Department of Justice.
Van Hollen testified Monday in support of the rule, saying it was necessary since the Legislature had said only that training was required but didn't say how much. He said four hours was the industry standard and not having a minimum requirement would make it impossible for the DOJ to verify that applicants had completed any training.
He also said that given that more than 20,000 people have submitted applications to get permits already, the public has not found the requirement to be too onerous.
But Republicans who control the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules ignored Van Hollen's concerns and voted to suspend the rule effective immediately. The committee also removed a requirement that applicants have a signed statement from the instructor verifying that the course had been successfully completed.
"There's no reason why we have to micromanage how people obtain their concealed carry permit," said Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. He said other states with no minimum training requirements haven't had any problems and "there's going to be no problem in the state of Wisconsin either."
Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, a sponsor of the bill, spoke in support of suspending the training requirement, saying the Legislature's intent was to leave it up to applicants to determine how many hours of training they needed.
"I really, truly believe we have to trust that individual," Suder said. The DOJ did not have the authority to specify a minimum number of hours, he said.
From now on, the DOJ will be "very liberal in accepting applications unless we have reason to believe there has been fraud or dishonesty or some aspect of the law has been disregarded," Van Hollen said. . . .