During Tuesday’s legislative committee meeting on concealed carry, Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, argues with fellow committee member Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, over how strict to keep regulations on concealed weapons.[/media-credit]

A legislative committee approved a bill that would suspend several of the Department of Justice emergency rules for concealed carry, including the rule requiring a minimum time for training.

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules held a meeting regarding the training requirements to obtain a license to carry a concealed weapon and passed the legislation suspending several of the DOJ’s emergency rules by a 6-3 majority. The next step for the bill will be to head to the Legislature for approval.

The committee recommended in the legislation that parts of the DOJ’s emergency rule on training be suspended, including the requirement that a firearms safety or training course include at least four hours of instruction.

The meeting addressed two main concerns with respect to the emergency rule. The first related to the definition of “firearms safety or training course,” which incorporates a minimum four-hour requirement.

The second had to do with the form of certification that must be submitted to provide proof of training.

In a meeting in early November, JCRAR suspended portions of the emergency rules affecting the training requirements for concealed carry licenses, according to a DOJ statement. Although proof of training is still required to apply for a license, several changes were made to the bill.

The changes included in the legislation would eliminate any time requirement for the firearms safety and training course, the word “test” from the definition of firearms safety and training course, any time requirement for firearms instructor training, the requirement for an instructor’s signature on the certificate affirming they taught the course to the student, the location where the training was provided from the certificate and instructor contact information on the certificate.

But not all of the rules are suspended. JCRAR Co-Chair Jim Ott, R-Mequon, said the bill will also keep several of the DOJ’s emergency rules, including a general firearms safety or training course completion that meets the requirements of the new rules. He said the attorney general will craft permanent rules sometime next month.

JCRAR Co-Chair Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, said the JCRAR’s elimination of the four hour time requirement for concealed carry training will give more autonomy to the individual instructors.

“Placing a arbitrary number really does not determine what is in the best interest of the people. … I believe that it is based on the instructor and the instructor will determine if a person has achieved the requirements to get a license” Vukmir said.

Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, said the initial proposition of a mandated training program, which was set for by the attorney general, was created based on extensive research based on laws and regulations in other states.

Eliminating this part of the concealed carry law disregards the attorney general’s testimony. In addition, according to Hebl, the attorney general was not notified of the public hearing that was held in opposition to the training requirement.

“We are wasting time on issues that matter very little to our constituents when we deal about concealed carry. We should be concentrating on job creation. … We need to get back on track and do what is right for Wisconsin. And what this action today is, when we vote on not having the training requirements of four hours … we are not looking out for the best interest of our citizens, and that is absolutely wrong,” Hebl said.