Concealed carry rule takes effect

Madison — A lower concealed carry permit fee, a new application form, and stricter curriculum requirements are part of a new – and permanent – concealed carry administrative rule that took effect June 1.

Wisconsin Act 35, which established the procedures for licensing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns, among other provisions, was signed into law in early July 2011 and took effect Nov. 1.

During those first 18 months, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which was designated to administer the law, has been doing so under emergency administrative rules, According to DOJ, the emergency rules were necessary because of the short time between when Act 35 was passed and when it went into effect.

From Nov. 1, 2011, through this May, the DOJ received more than 209,000 applications and printed nearly 190,000 concealed carry licenses.

“On average, we turn applications around in fewer than 10 days,” said Dana Brueck, DOJ spokesperson.

In July 2012, the DOJ held three public hearings around the state on proposed permanent administrative rules. The proposed rules were then submitted to the Legislature for review. The Legislature gave its approval, and the permanent rules went into effect June 1. 

A complete rundown of the new rules are available online: 

While most of the permanent rules are similar to the previous emergency rules, instructors and those considering taking a class as preparation to applying for a concealed carry license should be aware of a few changes that may affect how classes are conducted.

New form, lower fee

The license application form changed on June 1. Previous versions of the application that were postmarked before June 1 will still be processed.

However, old versions of the application postmarked on or after June 1 will be returned. The new application is available online:

As of June 1, the DOJ also has reduced the fee for a concealed carry license to $43, of which $30 is for the application fee and $13 for the background check.

Class curriculum

JUS 17.03(7) requires a “firearm safety or training course” to include instruction on:

  • Firearm safety rules;
  • Safe firearm and ammunition use, handling, transport, and storage;
  • Legal possession, transportation, and use of firearms, including the use of deadly force;
  • Techniques for avoiding and controlling violent situations.

This means courses that merely teach operation of a firearm, without instruction on the topics above, will not meet training requirements for the issuance of a concealed carry license under the new rules.

These requirements apply to courses taught by instructors certified by national or state organizations, as well as those certified by the DOJ. However, statutory language specifying that DNR hunter safety courses, military training, and security/law enforcement training are sufficient on their own as proof of training for license approval. 

For example, a DNR hunter safety certificate will continue to satisfy proof of training requirements, but a course on pistol marksmanship that doesn’t include the topics above will not meet training requirements.

Class size

JUS 17.03(8) mandates these specific “instructor-led training” requirements:

• The instructor-student ratio must be no more than 50 students per certified instructor;

• Training must be conducted face-to-face individually or in small groups where the instructor guides students, facilitates discussion, answers questions, and provides feedback (online, video, computer, and multimedia training is not recognized).

Certificate information

JUS 17.03(12) adds to the previous definition of “national or state organization that certifies firearm instructors.”

Such organizations must now be legally recognized, must regularly provide training and certification to firearm instructors, and must require instructors to demonstrate the ability and knowledge required to teach firearm safety or training courses.

JUS 17.05(2)(a) requires training certificates to contain:

  • The applicant’s name;
  • Name of the firearm safety or training course;
  • Date on which the applicant completed the course;
  • Name of the instructor who taught the course;
  • The name of the agency or instructor organization that certified the instructor.

In addition, the applicant must submit evidence to demonstrate the firearm safety or training course met the requirements of JUS 17.03(7). 

This evidence may include any one of the following:

  • A signed statement by the instructor affirming the course was a firearm safety or training course as defined by JUS 17.03(7);
  • Information on the certificate sufficient to establish the course was a firearm safety or training course as defined by JUS 17.03(7), or;
  • A signed statement on the application affirming the course was a firearm safety or training course as defined by JUS 17.03(7).

An updated model certificate showing how instructors could incorporate this information on student certificates is now on the DOJ website.

JUS 17.06(3)(b) also clarifies the process by which the department may revoke the certification of DOJ instructors for failure to comply with requirements.

The DOJ continues to make a model curriculum available for use by all instructors.

An update model curriculum is available at:

Instructors certified by national or state organizations that certify firearm instructors may use their preferred curriculum (if it contains the minimum instructional topics specified by JUS 17.03(7)), or may use the DOJ’s model curriculum.

DOJ-certified instructors are required to use the DOJ curriculum, along with the DOJ written exam and student certificate.

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