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Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011

Issue of the Week: Wrong on Guns, Period

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Is it really too much to ask that those carrying concealed weapons take a four-hour training course?

Mind you, that course doesn't have to be hands-on.

The course isn't required to have a standard curriculum.

And it doesn't require the student to pass a practical exam.

Still, anti-government Republicans on the Legislature's Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) removed the four-hour training requirement for a concealed weapons permit that Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen created in the emergency rules implementing the permit system.

Republicans—including Gov. Scott Walker—have argued that four hours of training is simply too burdensome for gun owners. State Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford), one of two people allowed to testify in the committee's allegedly public meeting, argued that individuals shouldn't have to spend their hard-earned money on what he called a “supplemental course” and that gun owners would know when they're qualified to carry a concealed weapon.

For good measure, the majority of the committee also removed the requirement that permit applicants provide the identity of the organization that trained them, as well as any proof that the course met statutory requirements.

Now, compare these new, amazingly lax training requirements for carrying a concealed deadly weapon with the far more rigorous requirements for other permits for far less dangerous activities. Real estate appraisers must verify that they've taken 150 hours of education and pass a national exam. Manicurists? More than 300 hours of training. Barbers and cosmetologists, a whopping 1,800 hours in a licensed school or a 4,000-hour apprenticeship—plus the successful completion of a written and practical exam. Even mixed martial arts referees must take a certified training program (about eight hours long) in addition to passing an online exam and officiating an event on a trial basis. Interior designers need at least six years of practical and academic experience to obtain a license from the state.

Since we all agree that it makes sense for appraisers, manicurists, barbers, referees and interior designers to undergo these rigorous training requirements, there's absolutely no reason why those carrying a loaded handgun in public should object to four hours of classroom instruction to obtain a permit.

This illogical turnabout on concealed carry training is just one of the many reasons why Gov. Scott Walker and his legislative enablers are facing recalls. While the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has editorialized that “a single” bad vote shouldn't trigger Walker's recall, a hundred or more bad votes should trigger a recall. The editors are willfully ignoring (or perhaps support) the pattern of Walker and his Republican allies' bad policies, disregard for democratic institutions and lack of respect for regular Wisconsinites. The expected recall of Walker and other legislators is about their determination to override Wisconsin's long history of common sense, fairness and integrity.

Heroes of the Week

Operation Christmas Child Volunteers

The holiday season often sees an uptick in charitable giving, as people look for ways to help their communities. Operation Christmas Child collects and distributes gift boxes to needy kids in more than 100 countries across the globe, including war zones, famine- or disease-stricken areas and refugee camps.

Locally, volunteers are hoping to collect upward of 30,000 gifts in donated shoe boxes packed with toys, school supplies and basic necessities. The boxes will be collected Nov. 14-21 at ProBuColls Bookstore (9733 W. Greenfield Ave.), Wooded Hills Bible Church (777 State Road 164, Colgate), Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church (31385 W. Hill Road, Hartland) and Cedar Creek Community Church (1414 First Ave., Grafton). Donors can register their boxes and track them to the destination country. Gift suggestions and packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Event of the Week

Veterans for Peace's Armistice Day Program

Milwaukee Veterans for Peace will sponsor its third annual Armistice Day observance on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the rotunda of Milwaukee City Hall. Ruth Conniff of The Progressive will be the main speaker at the one-hour program, which will also include remarks by Iraq veteran Zach LaPorte, music by Robin Pluer, poetry by Harvey Taylor, and commemoration of Wisconsin's war dead. The local Veterans for Peace Chapter 102 began holding the event in 2009 to reclaim a day that had been intended to promote world peace. The event is co-sponsored by Peace Action Wisconsin, Candlelight Coalition, Democratic Party of Milwaukee County, Catholics for Peace and Justice, Global Peace and Justice Task Force of Unitarian Universalist Church West, Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, and Milwaukee Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. The event is free and open to the public.