Training in Wisconsin

It’s now up to the Attorney General to prescribe regulations in regards to how much training is necessary to be able to get a concealed handgun license. And now the range operators come out to try to get their slice of the pie:

At Fletcher Arms in Waukesha owner Sean Eaton says the more gun safety training the better.

“Wisconsin’s never had concealed carry, so anyone who is not a police officer has never had concealed carry,” Eaton said.

It’s a good rule that if you’re an FFL, you should never speak to the media. I agree that the more training the better, saw a general rule, but the question is how much should be mandated. Shooting is a skill, much like playing the piano. You can’t learn to play the piano well with 8, or even 180 hours of training, and neither can you become an expert with a gun. This is true of cops as well as citizens. What we want is for people to understand the law, and have enough basic knowledge to get them started on a safe path toward being a competent shooter on their own. That can be successfully taught in a couple of hours. Mandating further training would have no effective purpose other than frustrating people out of getting permits.

Personally, I think a better way to do it, rather than training, is to quiz people on the law in regards to deadly force, and then a live shooting test. As long as the standards are reasonable, and in line with the same qualifier police have to take (which is easy, BTW), I don’t see why this wouldn’t be an acceptable substitute for a training regimen. That way the requirement is competence, rather than some arbitrary number of hours, or mandating courses that are expensive. This way, you only have to pay someone to administer the shooting test. The legal quiz could easily be done online.

18 thoughts on “Training in Wisconsin”

  1. “Mandating further training would have no effective purpose other than frustrating people out of getting permits.”

    Should read:
    Mandating further training would have no effective purpose other than frustrating people out of getting permits and creating an artificial demand for firearms instruction in WI.

  2. Sebastian,

    So I expect you’ll be advocating a quiz and practical test for bloggers, anyone talking in public or wanting to go to church also?

    You can’t learn to play the piano well with 8, or even 180 hours of training, and neither can you become an expert with a gun.

    This is utter nonsense. A person doesn’t have to be an expert with a gun to carry it.

    A person doesn’t even have to be an expert with a gun to use it in self defense…concealed carry or not.

    A person needs to be responsible for their actions – period.

    How they get to that level of comfort or responsibility should solely be up to them.

    No testing, no quiz, no training required or even suggested.

    We have enough laws already to cover the misuse of firearms…..even deadly force. Use of deadly force does not require a weapon — should people be quizzed on the laws before they are allowed out in public?

    that way the requirement is competence, rather than some arbitrary number of hours, or mandating courses that are expensive.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be competent with their firearms.
    But under no circumstances should we — as pro-rights advocates — be suggesting that people have to be tested as to their competence before they exercise that right.

  3. ” so anyone who is not a police officer has never had concealed carry”

    Uhmm, has no one told this FFL that people can get trained without a CCW and with getting a non resident license people from Wisconsin can and have carried in other states.


  4. Bob:

    I am not advocating mandatory training, but it is part of the world we live in. I think there could be less intrusive alternatives to training that would be acceptable to the powers that be.

    Pennsylvania has no mandatory training. I’m not convinced that Pennsylvania LTC holders are less responsible than people in states that do mandate it. But a majority of states mandate training currently.

    Also consider I think the likelihood of the Courts tossing the training requirement for carry is practically zero. States may have to create some kind of arrangement with allowing unrestricted OC if they want to limit concealed carry in such a manner, but a lot of states are already in that space.

  5. Bob, you’ve got to walk before you can run.

    While I agree that (in a perfect, liberty oriented world) training should not be mandated, it’s the only way concealed carry will pass right now. The general public and most legislators are not going to go for a law that doesn’t include some kind of training requirement.

    Unless you live in AZ, like I do : )

    I have no doubt that constitutional carry will become reality in just about all 50 states (CA is a lost cause, IMHO), but it’s going to happen in stages, not in one fell swoop.

  6. Florida seems to have done quite well with a pretty basic training requirement as stipulated in FS Chapter 790.06. A copy of a DD-214 works fine, as does “any NRA training course,” which is also specified in the statute.

    At my club two of us have taught a lot of F.I.R.S.T. Steps classes, which the NRA requires to be 3 hours long, but we take 4 hours because there’s an hour on the range for the students to translate the classroom learning to actual gun-to-target performance. Neither of us has ever flunked a student, but there have been some we’ve done quite a bit of one-on-one with during the range session to make sure they “get it.”

    I’ll agree with both Bob and Sebastian: there shouldn’t be a training requirement to exercise an enumerated Constitutional right, nor should there be a permitting process at all. That said,
    IIRC only Vermont, Arizona and Alaska are in that mode, and it will take some time – and a fair amount of political and legal work – to get the rest of the states on board. In the meantime, we’re going to have to live with something in the way of training requirements so the goal should be for those requirements to be as convenient and painless as possible, and most emphatically NOT a profit center for FFLs or instructors.

  7. ME went through this stupidity. A training company’s CEO ran maine gun owners association (created in 2003) and lobbied for, and passed in 2007, an extensive training requirement on their CCW. Once passed, they haven’t lobbied for anything else that I know of since.

    The FFLs and businesses surrounding firearms are their own worst enemies at times.

  8. “Unless you live in AZ, like I do : )” or Alaska, Vermont, Washington… yeah I can see a training requirement, as absolutely minimal in every way as can possibly work, used as a lever to get ccw into a place where it’s politically tight. The counter argument is the slippery slope and it’s true we don’t want to have control nuts then say ‘well they said 4 hours of training was good so obviously 40 with special guns provided on alternate blue moons would be better’. BUT the direction of the slippery slope is up to US. We still have a vote, we can still use a minimal training requirement as a wedge for incremental change for the better. And should. That said, I’ve had flames with some of my fellow NRA instructors in states like this (rhymes with florida) who argue for more stringent requirements. It shocks and (not to sound maudlin but truly) saddens me to hear effluent like that put out in public. As trainers we want to train, but not to conscripts. Freedom is first.

  9. Mandatory training of ANY kind is prior restraint of a constitutional right, so unacceptable. Unless of course we don’t REALLY believe that it’s a constitutional right, even though we are willing to say it is for rhetorical purposes while begging for privileges.

    Unless with resist mandatory training with every fiber of our being, we are conceding we — along with the SCOTUS — don’t believe the RKBA is a genuine individual right, but a privilege to be doled out in dribs and drabs at the convenience of the government.

  10. the question is how much should be mandated.


    But while we work toward that, I would say Virginia has a good requirement to use as an interim guideline.

    Va. Code §18.2-308:
    G. The court shall require proof that the applicant has demonstrated competence with a handgun and the applicant may demonstrate such competence by one of the following, but no applicant shall be required to submit to any additional demonstration of competence, nor shall any proof of demonstrated competence expire:

    1. Completing any hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or a similar agency of another state;

    2. Completing any National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course;

    3. Completing any firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law-enforcement agency, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association or the Department of Criminal Justice Services;

    4. Completing any law-enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement;

    5. Presenting evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or current military service or proof of an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed services;

    6. Obtaining or previously having held a license to carry a firearm in the Commonwealth or a locality thereof, unless such license has been revoked for cause;

    7. Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;

    8. Completing any governmental police agency firearms training course and qualifying to carry a firearm in the course of normal police duties; or

    9. Completing any other firearms training which the court deems adequate.

    A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes; an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization, or group that conducted or taught such course or class attesting to the completion of the course or class by the applicant; or a copy of any document which shows completion of the course or class or evidences participation in firearms competition shall constitute evidence of qualification under this subsection.

    The hunter’s safety course I took in Minnesota when I was in 7th grade (20 years prior) was sufficient to meet these requirements. There are online classes available that will meet the requirements. Fees for the permit application are limited by statute to a maximum of $50 total (including any fees the FBI charges for the background check).

    And, of course, no permit at all is required for open carry.

  11. Since 1994 for the permit Alaska requires 12 hours, which is essentially the 8 hours of NRA’s basic pistol/personal protection course and 4 hours on state law.

    Then you go to the range and shoot 6 out of 10 at 15 yards and 7 out of 10 at 7 yards and you’re done.

    Classes usually run about $125 which includes range fees and often instructor provided loaner guns.

    We started with caliber and action type restrictions but those got removed.

    The point is, even more onerous restrictions can be removed and, more importantly, if you don’t have training it can impact your reciprocity with other states. As far as reciprocity goes Alaska’s requirement works for every state that requires training for reciprocity.

    So, yes, mandatory training is intrusive and appears to be unnecessary for safety, but if you want 100% reciprocity then, as in all things, it makes sense as a practical matter.

  12. Don’t like mandated training; but I’ll put up with a qualifier no more difficult than the one the cops have to pass, and a basic test on the law regarding carry and use of force.

  13. 2 hours of GOOD training and a quiz is FAR better than 8 hours of lackluster training and no quiz.

    Training and education should focus on achieving goals and objectives and verifying that the training was effective.

    It can and should be paired with pre-course reading and post-course testing.

  14. I sometimes wonder if our opponents would be opposed to a practical test requirement instead of a training requirement because if would hurt the myth of the “only ones trained enough” to carry in public. The NJ police qual isn’t exactly a joke, but it’s not tough, either.

    And while I’d bet they’d try it, it’d be tough to argue that the test to carry by a civilian shoudl be harder than that for a cop…

  15. I suspect the main reason you haven’t seen skills tests instead of training is that training is something everyone can do. Skills tests some percentage of people are going to fail, and then have to get expensive training anyway if they want to pass.

    The other problem is that our opponents could continually tighten the requirements of the test, so that fewer and fewer people qualify. Though, you could do this with training too.

  16. They’d have to justify (for the practical) why civilians have to meet higher standards than cops. Which they would certainly try, I suppose.
    For the practical test, assuming that it is no more difficult than the police qual, I don’t know that I would have a lot of sympathy for someone who doesn’t do a practice run first. Yeah, ammo isn’t cheap, but the police quals I am aware of are low on round-count for that reason; nor are they impossible to do in any hangdun range.

    The legal knowledge test would be the tricky one.

  17. What a bunch of crap this is turning into. The training requirements were already passed in WI. Even a good number of Democrats voted for the CC bill, including one or two otherwise-crazy Milwaukee reps. Now, one month before you can apply for a license, suddenly some people want to push for more “training.”

    One training you can do is take the WI Hunter’s Safety Course for $10. $10 sounds great, right? Well, it’s about 16 hours long and includes things like how to dress a deer and how to safely set up your tree stand. So… yeah, not exactly things you need for CC.

    Open carry in WI.. no problem. Put a jacket over it… holy crap you need a lot of training, d00d!

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