“Right to Carry” author, Sen. Craig continues to try to be evasive about training concern

UPDATE: Today (Friday) Sen. Craig released his latest e-update. Still no mention of the elimination of required training in his bill. On his radio show today WTMJ’s  Jeff Wagner called Craig’s bill “crazy” and “just a dumb idea.”

I agree.

On Wednesday the state Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety held a public hearing on Senate Bill 169, the “Right to Carry” bill authored in the Senate by my state Senator Dave Craig (R-Big Bend) who represents all of Franklin.

The bill would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit. It would also
change Wisconsin’s current conceal-carry law that requires concealed weapon carriers to get training and a license.

I’ve written that I find the training requirement necessary and reasonable. Because this legislation eliminates the requirement I don’t support it, even though I do like the provision in the bill that would allow those with a concealed carry permit to have a gun in their vehicle while taking children to or from school even if a school has posted notices.

Senator Craig has avoided mentioning the training aspect of his bill in his public notices (news releases, e-newsletters, etc.), which I’ve pointed out on my blog. That portion of Craig’s bill is a lightning rod, which could very well be why he chooses not to bring it up.

True to form, when Craig opened Wednesday’s hearing, he did not make any mention whatsoever of the elimination of training during his approximate 3-minute prepared statement.

Neither did state Representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) who followed Craig. She’s the Assembly author of the bill.

Following those presentations, committee member, state Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) immediately pounced. She asked quite directly, “Do you believe that there should be no training for a person to carry?”

Craig started dancing.

He said the bill simply states that training not be codified.

What does that mean?

It means that training not be included in the bill.

Craig alluded to minimal training standards and provided examples under Wisconsin law where applicants never pick up a weapon.

He then discussed how the bill was necessary to maintain Constitutional rights. But he never specifically answered the question. Taylor wasn’t satisfied.

The same question was put to Representative Felzkowski who replied, “No.”

Taylor, who has a reputation of being confrontational, took a swipe at Craig saying that when she asks for “1, 2, 3” she’d prefer not to hear “7, 8, 9.”

“Training is one of those, for me, lines in the sand,” Taylor said. “I’m challenged by the concept that you think constitutional rights come unfettered. I’m challenged that there is this thought process that zero, zero amount of training is appropriate. The difference is that you don’t believe they need to be trained. You believe it is sufficient to put weapons in the hands of untrained individuals.”

A lobbyist for the National Rifle Association testified that a lot of people can’t afford to get training.

I found that interesting because committee chairman, state Senator Van Wanggaard noted earlier that there are now more than 500,000 Wisconsinites who conceal carry. In so doing Wanggaard politely corrected Craig who testified the number was more than 300,000, indicating Craig came to the hearing with information that wasn’t updated.

So, half a million state residents somehow found the resources to get training and a license.

Also, several people commented at the hearing that people will just voluntarily go out and get training. That’s not the same as requiring them to.

Finally, Governor Walker weighed in on the issue today.

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