Critics and supporters of Wisconsin's new concealed-carry law have until August 1st to submit written comments on the rules for enforcing it. At the final public hearing in Pewaukee Wednesday, many gun owners called the law’s new training requirements too lax.
Most who testified at the hearing were gun owners, and many had already received concealed carry permits under the existing emergency rules. Their message to the Department of Justice was clear: Make the permit harder to get. Richard McDonald of Waukesha said the current training requirements don't require hands-on training with a gun. He says that violates his rights to be safe: “You know, someone says, well, you can't step on someone's civil rights. My rights are also there. I have the right to know that anyone who's carrying a gun knows what the hell they're doing with it, and not just running around.”
Others, like attorney Thomas Greive of Waukesha, urged the department not to allow people to use completion of a hunter safety program as a substitute for handgun training, “The hunter safety certificate, as everybody knows, is about safety, landowner relations, crossing a barbed wire fence safely, loading and unloading a gun in a car... It has nothing to do with carrying a concealed weapon in a public venue.”
The proposed new rules also don't include any requirement for mental health screening. Keith Bailey of Milwaukee called on the state to add rules to keep guns out of the hands of anyone suffering from a mental illness. “It's too simple to receive a concealed carry, not be mentally screened, kill someone, and the family is left holding the memory, while the murderer goes off because he's not competent enough to stand trial.”
The Department of Justice will submit the proposed new rules to the legislature and the governor this summer, but they won't go into effect until the legislature approves them sometime next year.