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Police aim for safer concealed carry law

Identification and training are too points of concern

The Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives Association is working with legislators to require those applying for concealed carry licenses to provide solid identification and to enable police to find out quickly any time day or night whether a person has a concealed carry license.

The Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives Association is working with legislators to require those applying for concealed carry licenses to provide solid identification and to enable police to find out quickly any time day or night whether a person has a concealed carry license. Photo By Tom Lynn

Aug. 30, 2011

Greenfield - The state's new law allowing citizens with permits to carry concealed weapons has not gone into effect yet, but already some local and area law enforcement officials want to see changes.

The Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives Association is working with legislators to require those applying for concealed carry licenses to provide solid identification and to enable police to find out quickly any time day or night whether a person has a concealed carry license.

That's important information for a police officer to know when he pulls over a drunken driver at, say, 3 a.m., Greenfield Interim Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt said.

Proper identification

Wentlandt points to the way identification can be established under the new law as less than ideal.

"It's all conducted by mail," he said. "Most states require fingerprints to confirm identification."

Without proper identification, people who are not allowed to get licenses might be able to such as convicted felons or those under 21.

To get ready for when concealed carry takes effect Nov. 1, Greenfield officers will receive special training, Wentlandt said.

"The most visible change that people will notice almost immediately is that police will ask if they are carrying a concealed weapon," Wentlandt said.

He declined to reveal what will happen if the answer is "yes."

Proper training

People can start applying Nov. 1 for concealed carry licenses. One requirement is firearms training, another area where Wentlandt believes the law can be improved.

"The new law has a very, very, very lax requirement for training," he said.

To obtain a license, applicants need only complete a hunter safety class. Wentlandt, who noted that Greenfield police teach hunter safety classes, said such lessons "no way relate to carrying a concealed weapon."

Specifically, they do virtually nothing to keep carriers from making deadly mistakes or to keep the public safe, he said.

Greenfield police will offer classes that go beyond the scope of hunter classes.

"We want to provide high quality, on-point, on-task training," Wentlandt said. "The classes will include legal aspects and the decision-making process involved in pulling a weapon and using a weapon."

Students also will go through simulations with a real gun that shoots tiny paint balls.

"They will see how they would react and see the consequences," Wentlandt said.

Another class focus will be on where they can and cannot go with a concealed weapon. Public buildings, businesses and even apartment buildings can be posted as being off limits, among other places.

- Jane Ford-Stewart

Frequently asked questions

The Wisconsin Department of Justice offers some guidance to frequently asked questions regarding Wisconsin new concealed carry weapons law. The answers are not meant to be legal advice or definitive:

When can I apply for a CCW license?

When the law becomes effective on Nov. 1

Where can I apply for a CCW license?

Applications will be available from the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) which intends to have them available on the DOJ website on or about Nov. 1. Or people can request it be mailed.

How do I apply for a CCW license?

By mailing the application with a statement that the information submitted on it is true, a license fee up to $37 (the amount is still being determined) and $13 for a background check.

How long will it take to get a CCW license after I submit an application?

Up to 45 days for applications received by Dec. 1. After that, 21 days.

How long is a license good for?

Five years

What kind of training is required to get a license?

Proof of any of the following:

DNR hunter education program or a substantially similar program that is recognized by DNR.

A firearms safety or training course conducted by a national or state organization that certifies firearms instructors.

A firearms safety or training course offered by a law enforcement agency

A firearms safety or training course that is taught by an instructor who is certified by a national or state organization that certifies firearms instructors or by an instructor certified by DOJ, and that is available to the public and offered by a technical college, a college or university, a private or public institution or organization, or a firearms training school.

A firearms safety or training course that is offered to law enforcement officers or to owners and employees of licensed private detective and security agencies.

Documentation that the individual completed military, law enforcement, or security training that gave the individual experience with firearms that is substantially equivalent to a course or program normally required.

A current or expired license, or a photocopy of a current or expired license from outside Wisconsin

Will an online training course be enough?

The Department of Justice is studying that issue. Until the rules are in place, no vendors can guarantee that their training will qualify.

What if I need an emergency CCW license?

A person can ask the court for an emergency license. A court may issue an emergency license.

Can I carry a concealed weapon on school grounds?

No

Can I take a concealed weapon into a bar?

Only if you don't drink

What about Tasers?

Prior law made it a felony for the public to have Tasers and other electronic weapons. Under the CCW laws, the prohibition against possessing or going armed with an electric weapon does not apply to those with concealed carry licenses

Can an employer prohibit employees from carrying concealed weapons on the job?

Yes

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