Proposed bill would allow concealed weapons in Wisconsin's private schools

A bill being circulated by Wisconsin State Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) would allow people who are licensed to carry concealed weapons to bring those weapons inside private schools.

Kremer says he's introducing the bill, currently being circulated for co-sponsorship, in response to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.

"The unfortunate reality is that gun-free zones merely serve to concentrate populations of vulnerable targets on school grounds and surrounding areas. Students attending school should not be denied a safe learning environment and teachers, administrators, or parents should not be denied their Second Amendment right to carry a weapon for self-defense and protection of their children or classroom," Kremer said a memo sent Monday.

Under current Wisconsin law, it is a felony to carry a firearm on school grounds and school buildings. 

The legislation would establish a pilot program for schools in Wisconsin which would allow concealed weapons in private, parochial, or tribal schools. Kremer hopes it is eventually expanded into public schools statewide.

The bill would also adjust the charge for those found guilty of illegally possessing a firearm in or on the grounds of a public school from a Class I felony to a Class B forfeiture.

Local gun control group Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) says they are opposed to the proposed changes.

"The evidence and the research is really strong that more guns in more places does not make us safer," WAVE Executive Director Jeri Bonavia says. "Certainly we can't be taking that kind of risk, or that kind of chance, with the lives of our children."

That's not the route Kremer says he wants to take.

"It is time to STOP advertising our schools as Gun Free School Zones and go the way that Ohio did
after Sandy Hook by publicly adverting that school personnel MAY, and WILL, shoot back in
Wisconsin," he said.

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