MADISON, Wis. — The state Department of Justice quietly agreed to stop enforcing concealed carry class size limitations last year, court documents show.

The DOJ, then under control of Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, adopted regulations in 2013 requiring concealed carry applicants to show proof they’ve taken a hunter’s safety course, been discharged from the military or passed an instructor-led firearms course. The rules limited the size of the classes to no more than 50 students for one instructor.

Gun rights group Wisconsin Carry Inc., which began holding training courses when Wisconsin’s concealed carry law went into effect in November 2011, filed a lawsuit days after the DOJ implemented the regulations. The group contended state law prohibits DOJ from imposing training standards beyond what the concealed carry law prescribes.

The group’s attorney said then that a single Wisconsin Carry instructor sometimes teaches classes of several hundred students and the group didn’t have enough instructors to offer classes to as many people who want to take them if they had to abide by the ratio.

Republican Brad Schimel won election as attorney general in 2014 while the lawsuit was still pending, promising during his campaign to support gun rights and defend concealed carry. Court documents show that his administration decided state law does prohibit agencies from imposing more restrictive standards than laid out in statute and stopped enforcing the 50:1 ratio in October.

The agency reached an agreement with Wisconsin Carry to develop regulations repealing the ratio and the two sides agreed to drop the lawsuit this past May.

DOJ’s news release archive contains no statements on the agreement. Spokesman Johnny Koremenos said Tuesday that DOJ doesn’t issue news releases on everything that happens at the agency.


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