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Under GOP proposal, some may be able to keep guns in their vehicle on school grounds

state capitol
Posted at 5:42 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 06:42:26-05

MADISON (NBC 26) — A Republican sponsored bill would change Wisconsin law so people with a license to carry a concealed weapon can have a firearm on school grounds so long as it's in their car.

Assembly Bill 495 was discussed in an Assembly Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing Wednesday and passed committee in a 9 to 4 vote.

The bill is authored by nearly a dozen state legislators in Northeast Wisconsin, including State Sen. André Jacque, (R) De Pere.

"This is legislation that was first recommended to me by a state trooper in my district," Jacque said. "It's something that I think really is common sense."

It's currently a felony in Wisconsin to have a firearm on school grounds in most cases.

By keeping the gun in their vehicle, Jacque said the bill would allow parents or school staff members with a conceal carry license to avoid potential prosecution.

"If you have an individual, who is a law abiding individual, who possesses a legal conceal carry license, they should not be inadvertently committing a felony simply by picking up or dropping off their kids in school," Jacque said. "There are teachers who have conceal carry permits that in any other profession would be able to keep a concealed weapon in the glove compartment of their vehicle. Based on the law without this change, they're precluded from being able to have that ability to have that protection."

Several nearby states already have similar laws, including Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

But many state educational organizations don't support the bill.

"My association does not support this bill, because we do not support expanding guns on school grounds," said Dan Rossmiller, Wisconsin Association of School Boards director of government relations.

Rossmiller said the WASB believes only sworn law enforcement officers should be allowed to have firearms in school zones for safety reasons.

"Probably the majority of school board members in the state believe that children and guns are not a good mix," Rossmiller said. "To the extent that we can limit the number of guns physically present on school grounds, and not in the hands of our school officers and other resource officers, that's probably a good thing."

The bill is up for a senate hearing Thursday.