MADISON - Applicants to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin no longer will have to complete four hours of training, after a Republican-controlled legislative committee voted Monday to do away with the requirement characterized by the National Rifle Association as overly strict.

The rule mandating the completion of at least four hours of training was put in place by Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's Department of Justice in advance of the law taking effect last week.

Van Hollen testified Monday in support of the rule, saying it was necessary because the Legislature had declared that training was required, but didn't specify how much.

He said four hours was the industry standard, adding that having no minimum requirement would make it impossible for the Department of Justice to verify applicants had completed any training.

Also, given that more than 20,000 people already had submitted applications for the permits, Van Hollen said the public has not found the requirement to be 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 calling for applicants to have a signed statement from an instructor verifying the course had been successfully completed.

Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf said he supports a citizen's right to carry a concealed weapon, but adds that he has safety concerns related to the removal of the four-hour training requirement.

"Drawing and firing the weapon is the easy part," Schauf said. "Deciding when to fire the weapon and when not to fire it is the hard part.

"As police officers, we're required to have training before we get our weapons and a certain number of training hours throughout the year. If we have to be trained, it would only make sense that a person in public would want to be trained, as well."

Schauf said training teaches gun owners how to overcome a phenomenon known as auditory exclusion, in which a person focuses solely on what's in front of them during an intense situation. Training helps gun owners grow aware of their total surroundings and not make rash firing decisions.

Many gun owners likely will get the necessary training, Schauf said, but he's concerned about those who may not.

Republican lawmakers who revoked the rule said they did not believe it was important.

"There's no reason why we have to micromanage how people obtain their concealed-carry permit," said Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend.

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," Grothman said.

Republican Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder, a sponsor of the bill, said 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, adding that the DOJ does not have the authority to specify a minimum number of hours.

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.

Democrats on the committee sided with Van Hollen, but didn't have enough votes to keep the rule in place.

"Without the provisions of four hours (of training), we have a subjective standard that anybody is going to be able to meet," said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. "I don't know why on Earth this committee would want to jeopardize public health and public safety by doing this."

Gov. Scott Walker signed off on the emergency rules last month, just two weeks before the law took effect Nov. 1.

Walker, commenting after the NRA complained that the training requirement was unjustified and too strict, said he had reservations about the rule but said he had no choice, given that the law was about to go into effect.

A spokesman for the NRA had no immediate comment on Monday's action.

"It definitely increases the risk level," said Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo. "I just wish these guys would work as hard at getting people back to work and at restoring the economy as they are at assuring everyone can carry a gun."

Clark said he thought the DOJ's four-hour training requirement was a reasonable approach to balance gun owners' rights with public safety concerns.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed Wisconsin's concealed-carry law in July after years of lobbying from the NRA. With passage of that law, Illinois is left as the only state in which concealed weapons are banned.

Under the law, anyone who wants to carry a concealed weapon must obtain a permit from the DOJ. Applicants must receive training through courses conducted by national or state organizations that certify firearm instructors; courses offered by police departments, technical colleges and universities; and courses for police officers and private detectives. They also must provide written proof they have completed such a course.

As of Monday afternoon, 1,669 licenses to carry concealed weapons had been approved and 339 had been rejected, DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck said.

Baraboo News Republic reporter Tim Damos contributed to this report.


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(11) comments


"Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf said he supports a citizen's right to carry a concealed weapon, but adds that he has safety concerns related to the removal of the four-hour training requirement.

"Drawing and firing the weapon is the easy part," Schauf said. "Deciding when to fire the weapon and when not to fire it is the hard part."

I AGREE 110 % I was amazed when I heard that the 4 hour class was no longer mandatory.

Those applying for permits REALLY need to understand the consequences of pulling that weapon out, Florida has a law on the books where as you pull it out without just cause your doing 5 years. That made people think real quick.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm so pro-gun it ain't funny, my honest opinion, were going to see some collateral damage from this oversight. If I'm wrong fantastic !

In the words of Uncle Ben ( Spiderman )

With great power comes great responsibility.


I agree with metasploiter 120%


justme said: "I agree with metasploiter 120%"

times two! i can't beleive they took that part out!


Honestly, I believe that not having a mandatory safety, firing drills, and legal statutes course is very short sighted. No pun intended.


Why do we need the government to mandate what training requirements we need to excercise our constitutional rights? We need to accept responsibility for ourselves. If the government establishes the requirements, then can't they just make it so difficult that, in essence, we no longer have the right? Yes there are some risks to concealed carry, but there are also risks when the government regulates our rights away.

Just because we have a concealed carry law doesn't mean that the population is going around town "packing heat". Most of us will use a great deal of discretion before we carry a firearm. Personally, I will get a permit and use it once or twice a year when I travel into areas that I might consider potentially dangerous. My weapon will probably not leave my car. I have no reason to walk around town with such a weapon. I think Illinois is the only state remaining without a concealed carry law, and there just doesn't seem to be an outbreak of reckless shootings.


Any responsible gun owner will have training and/or experience. It's the guys who aren't concerned about carry permits that you need to be worried about. You may now be rescued by a law abiding citizen that the all powerful state has deemed suitable to retain his constitutionally protected rights...or not. Good luck.


I'm getting a permit, you needn't worry about me. You need to worry about the guys that are unaffected buy your ordinances. Heck, I may even be the guy that saves your sorry liberal ass someday. And if that's the case I apologize for your angst.


Im for concealed carry but cant believe they wouldnt at least mandate a training course. A handgun with no safety operates a lot differently than a rifle with a safety. We cant go hunting in the woods without a hunter safety card so why should we be able to carry a gun?


Honestly @ tin cob. "there doesn't seem to be an outbreak of reckless shootings.". Are you serious? Chicago, especially the south side where Obama did his community organizing, has many shootings on a daily and nightly basis.


@ TinCanGob, I hear ya and I'm with ya to a point, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find a quote by me saying " Free men don't ask permission " I'll tell ya what I'd rather see.

The class mandatory and firearm registration gone.

You said it right here " We need to accept responsibility for ourselves" Most of us in the OC and CC movement have accepted this responsibility, we know the law and most of us train as much if not more than Law Enforcement, I know I do :)

What I don't want to see or read about is someone settling a verbal argument with a .44 because he or she can now carry one under there coat and be oblivious to the law, then have to hear their dumb ass on the stand with the " I didn't know defense"

Lets be honest with each other, were going to hear that at least once in the near future.


Having a firearm is a responsibilty. Making the decision to take it out of the house requires even more. For those of you who decide to leave it in your car or truck, think twice. It better be locked up good, or else you have just armed one of the many teens who love to go "car shopping". If you make the decision to go armed make sure you know what "self defense" actually means. Don't be scared by the headlines you read every once in awhile. It only promotes paranoia.

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