- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on a public hearing on a bill that would lift permit and training requirements to carry concealed weapons (all times local):

11 a.m.

A National Rifle Association lobbyist is telling a legislative committee that guns were a great equalizer for “the blacks.”

Scott Meyer appeared before the Senate’s judiciary committee during a public hearing on a GOP bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without permits or training. The NRA supports the measure.

Meyer told the committee that the cost of training can prevent minorities from obtaining concealed carry licenses, adding that guns were one of the great equalizers for “the blacks” after emancipation.

Sen. Lena Taylor, a Milwaukee Democrat who is black, chastised Meyer. She told him calling African-Americans “the blacks” doesn’t help cultural diversity.

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9:55 a.m.

Two Republican legislators are urging a state Senate committee to approve their bill allowing people to carry concealed weapons without permits or training.

Sen. Dave Craig and Rep. Mary Felzkowski told the Senate judiciary committee during a packed public hearing on the bill Wednesday that doing away with the permit and training would eliminate the $40 application fee and administrative hurdles.

They added that people can carry openly in Wisconsin without a permit or training.

Sen. Lena Taylor, a Milwaukee Democrat, said some restrictions on guns are appropriate. She also questioned whether the bill would allow the mentally ill to carry concealed.

Felzkowski said the bill doesn’t change who can legally own a gun.

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8:43 a.m.

The Wisconsin Senate’s judiciary committee is set to take comments on a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without training or permits.

Right now anyone who carries concealed must obtain a permit and get training. Republicans unveiled a bill in March that would do away with those requirements. The bill also would create a new permit for carrying concealed weapons on school grounds unless the school has prohibited the practice. That permit would require a background check but no training.

The measure would preserve the current permit system with training for people who need a permit to carry in other states.

The committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill Wednesday. According to the National Rifle Association, 12 other states already allow concealed carry without a permit.

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