State gathers public comment on concealed carry lawThe Wisconsin Department of Justice is seeking public input to flesh out rules governing the state’s concealed carry law.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The Wisconsin Department of Justice is seeking public input to flesh out rules governing the state’s concealed carry law. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen held the first of three public hearings on the issue Monday in Superior.
“It’s very important to us that we receive maximum information to promote the best rule we can that will pass the muster of all the different interests, sometimes competing interests,” he said.
The state’s concealed carry law took effect on Nov. 1. To date, 117,000 concealed carry permits have been issued by the state, and the Department of Justice continues to receive about 1,000 applications a week.
“Wisconsin has a love of guns,” said Brian O’Keefe, administrator of the Division of Law Enforcement Services. The state also boasts the third highest number of deer hunters in the nation.
Wisconsin’s rulemaking process required at least one public hearing on the proposed rules, which will replace the current emergency rules.
“I decided that this subject matter is important enough we should get around the big state a little more and so we’re doing three public hearings,” Van Hollen said. The other hearings take place on July 24 in Green Bay and July 25 in Waukesha.
One of the biggest changes between the current emergency rules and the proposed permanent rules is a move from a required four-hour training period to a required curriculum.
“Just certain things that have to be taught during any training, but certainly much more can be done,” Van Hollen said.
Lowell Rudd of Proctor supervises two training instructors in Wisconsin through Bear Butte Enterprises. He stated his support for the move to a curriculum-based requirement.
National Association of Firearms Instructors President Tim Grant suggested training schools should be defined by the rules so organizations certifying instructors can be held accountable.
Dan Parkinson of Poplar runs Superior Shooter’s Supply gives concealed carry classes in the area. One of the questions he gets asked a lot is “What’s going to be required in five years to go renew my permit?”
“Just fees now,” O’Keefe said. An online system is being set up so that by spring of 2014 all renewals can be completed online.
The proposed changes will not affect people who already have a permit.
“Anybody who has a concealed carry permit is good to go for the five years until renewal,” Van Hollen said. “We have determined that they have met criteria under the law at the time and they will not be affected by these permanent rules at all.”
It could be some time before the proposed rules come into play, however. Along with the public, the legislature and governor will have an opportunity to comment on them.
“I anticipate it will be a number of months before we have these rules in place,” Van Hollen said.
Public comments are being taken through Aug. 1. Those unable to attend a public hearing can contact David Zibolski, deputy administrator for the Division of Law Enforcement Services, at (608) 267-2232 or send written comments to the Attorney General’s office at 17 W. Main St., PO Box 7857, Madison, WI 53707-7857.