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Thread: 'State issues 15 concealed weapon permits to retired officers' JSonline.com

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    http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepo.../36716819.html

    By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel
    Posted: Dec. 24, 2008

    Madison - The state Department of Justice has issued 15 concealed weapons permits to retired agents, making them the only former state police officers who can pack pistols in public in Wisconsin.

    Other state agencies, such as the State Patrol and Capitol Police, don't allow their retirees to carry concealed guns, despite a 2004 federal law allowing the practice in some cases. Around the state, there is a patchwork of retirees who can carry weapons because local police and sheriff's offices issue the permits.

    Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states that don't allow the general public to get licenses to carry concealed weapons. The issue has been fiercely debated here, with Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle twice vetoing such bills.

    Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen in June issued the first concealed weapons permit to a Division of Criminal Investigation retiree. He said at the time he would issue them to other qualifying retirees who wanted them and that he hoped his decision would show other state agencies that they could issue the permits too.

    But the other state agencies have declined to do so because there are no state standards for issuing the permits.

    After issuing one permit to a retired agent in June, the Department of Justice sent letters to all eligible retirees letting them know the permits were available. Of the 50 or so contacted, 14 said they wanted to get them. They shot on the range in September and were given permits that are good for one year. The retirees have to meet the same standards as current agents, said Mike Myszewski, who heads the division.

    "I think the program is working very well," Myszewski said. "These are people who spent their adult lives in law enforcement."

    State Patrol Superintendent David Collins said he had not seen any increased interest for permits from retired troopers since Van Hollen began issuing the permits. Collins has raised concerns in the past about people's ability to make split-second decisions if they've been out of law enforcement for years.

    Under the 2004 federal law, police agencies can permit former officers to carry concealed firearms if they retired in good standing, worked as an officer for 15 years or more, have met state firearms training standards within the past year, and are not otherwise barred from possessing a firearm under federal law.

    But some argue such permits can't be issued in Wisconsin because the state does not set training standards for law enforcement agencies. Van Hollen, a Republican, has maintained law enforcement agencies have the power to issue the permits.
    "I believe it is important to put our money where our mouth is," he said in a statement. "By having the Department of Justice take the lead when it comes to providing one of our own retired law enforcement officers with a permit to carry a concealed firearm, I believe it shows that we have the confidence in local law enforcement agencies in their ability to do this on their own."

    Van Hollen lobbied for a bill that would have set criteria for police agencies for issuing the permits and given them immunity from lawsuits. Neither house took up the bill before the Legislature adjourned in March, however.

    John Palmer, 62, retired from the Department of Justice in 2003 after 26 years. Now a part-time private investigator, he said he decided to get a concealed weapons permit but didn't plan to carry a gun often.

    "I would only be using it when I felt it would be needed for my own security," he said.
    Retiree Greg Eggum, 63, said he decided to get a permit because it gave him a chance to spend some time with his former colleagues on the shooting range. A former state fire marshal, Eggum said he didn't plan to carry a gun personally but that he was glad other retirees would.

    "The public is probably going to be safer for it as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I think the attorney general did the public a service by letting his retired officers carry."

    Among those declining to issue the permits are the Capitol Police, State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources' Law Enforcement Bureau and University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department.




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    John Palmer, 62, retired from the Department of Justice in 2003 after 26 years. Now a part-time private investigator, he said he decided to get a concealed weapons permit but didn't plan to carry a gun often.

    "I would only be using it when I felt it would be needed for my own security," he said.
    Retiree Greg Eggum, 63, said he decided to get a permit because it gave him a chance to spend some time with his former colleagues on the shooting range. A former state fire marshal, Eggum said he didn't plan to carry a gun personally but that he was glad other retirees would.

    "The public is probably going to be safer for it as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I think the attorney general did the public a service by letting his retired officers carry."

    Ok, I really don't get it. Palmer stated he would only carry it when he felt it would be needed for his own safety. Now if I am not mistaken, isn't that the WHOLE purpose for allowing them to carry after retirement? That for some reason their lives were in 'perpetual danger'?

    And a former STATE FIRE MARSHALL (do they spend a lot of time creating enemies with big time dangerous felons, other than maybe politicians?) he decides to get the permit so he can spend time on the range with fellow colleagues and didn't plan on carrying one personally?

    I have two thoughts on these comments, either these guys decided to get these permits to retain their feelings of superiority over standard taxpayers and citizens because they somehow feel they are better equipped morally, or they are just full of SHIK and want to downplay their getting these permits so that citizens wouldn't feel that they were treated like they (WE) were second class because we didn't choose to become LEOs.

    But this is my favorite quote - "The public is probably going to be safer for it as far as I'm concerned," he said. "I think the attorney general did the public a service by letting his retired officers carry."

    I thought these guys were retired and no longer in service? Maybe they are now going to become traveling officers looking out for the well being of others. Starting by keeping a watch over the city of Madison, especially the area surrounding the campus where it's most dangerous. Ok, hold your laughter. My point is that the purpose for these FORMER officers (but fire marshall?) was that their lives were somehow in danger for all of the good they did when actually in service and made some dangerous enemies that required them to be able to protect themselves and their family.

    So, in my opinion, the general public was done no more a service than to hire a boatload of officers just to patrol bars and highways on New Years Eve, where the easy stops are.

    Just my opinion.

    By the way, on a side note they need to quit protecting that lazy useless 911 operator in Madison. That would be more of a service to the public.
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