Ever since it became legal in Wisconsin to conceal a weapon, applications for permits have steadily flowed into the Department of Justice.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says, despite a lack of resources, since the implementation of the new law his department has done a “phenomenal” job of turning around the permit requests. “We’ve received somewhere in the ball park of 80,000 applications since the law went into effect a couple of months ago. We have approved probably 71,000 of those applications.” That number changes every day.
Van Hollen says on any given day his agency has about 3,000 applications waiting in the queue. The Department of Justice was given 45 days to review applications in the first month of the new concealed carry law. Now the agency is limited to 21 days to process permits. Van Hollen says it was initially difficult to meet those deadlines, but they have been well within that time frame for quite a while. He says some people get their permit in as little as a week, and seldom longer than two weeks.
Based on information from comparable states, he says, everything in our state is going as expected. “We anticipated we would receive and give out about 100,000 permits. I anticipate now we’ll probably surpass that … we’re still receiving another 1,000 every two days.” He says the amount of requests hasn’t dropped off at all.
In addition, Van Hollen says many people indicated to him that they are waiting for things to settle down before they apply. He says ultimately, the program pays for itself. A $50 fee pays the expense of doing a background check and issuing the permit.
The law took effect on November 1, 2011.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:51