Concealed carry training concerns discussed during hearing

PEWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Justice will decide what type of training should be involved for those who want to carry a concealed weapon. Over 100 people turned out at a public hearing held in Pewaukee Wednesday, July 25th to voice their concerns over the issue.

The state of Wisconsin began allowing people to carry concealed guns in November. Since then, the state Department of Justice says they’ve received over 118,000 permits. Residents are still applying at a rate of 1,000 to 1,500 every week.

A major issue is what kind of training should be required for those looking to obtain a permit.

“There’s an unbelievable difference between academic training using a firearm, versus real-life scenario — actually deciding when to pull the trigger and take the life of somebody,” Thomas Harter said.

When the Legislature passed Act 35, allowing concealed carry, so-called emergency rules took effect so gun owners could carry their weapons. The rules require training, but no specific training requirements are stated.

New rules proposed by the DOJ require instruction on using deadly force, how to stay out of trouble, mandating firearm safety and how to safely use, transport and store firearms.

Training class sizes would be limited to 50 students per instructor.

“Some of my concerns are, there are alcohol in some of these classes, they’re an hour, an hour and a half long. How do we monitor this sort of thing and get the quality of the class?” instructor Ron Farkas said.

Keith Bailey is from a group that helps those affected by gun violence, called Milwaukee Matters. He says he would like there to be some way to check a person’s mental health before a concealed carry permit is issued.

“We’ve seen that this past week. There’s going to be a lot of funerals as a result of somebody ordering guns, ordering firearms, ordering ammunition but making a wrong bad decision,” Bailey said.

Some say since concealed carry was legalized in Wisconsin, there haven’t been any major issues.

“There’s no shootouts at the O.K. Corral here. There’s no car muggings. They seem to be getting along just fine,” Norbert B. Smiltneek said.

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