State News

Bill would allow concealed carry without permit in school zones

Two Republican state representatives proposed a bill Tuesday that would allow residents to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Wisconsinites could be allowed to carry concealed handguns without a permit if a bill proposed by multiple Republican state legislators Tuesday passes.

The legislation replaces state gun-free school zone laws, and instead allows individual schools to determine by posting signs whether firearms are prohibited in their school or on school grounds under state trespass law.

The bill, which comes six years after licensed concealed weapons were legalized in the state, would also allow people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into places they are currently banned, including school grounds and hospitals, unless signs are posted stating otherwise.

Current Wisconsin law states that the exposed carry of a firearm is legal without a license, but it cannot be concealed in any way except for when a permit is obtained.

The proposal, also called “Right to Carry” legislation, would eliminate the Wisconsin law requiring that anyone seeking a permit to carry a concealed weapon obtain a license and take a firearms training course. It would, however, require a background check before the permit is issued.

Co-author of the legislation, state Rep. Robert Brooks, R-Saukville said the bill would move Wisconsin’s open and concealed carry laws closer to federal laws.

In schools that allow concealed weapons, the bill would allow license holders to bring guns onto school grounds without the firearm training that was previously required.

In addition to this new option, people still have the option to get the concealed weapon permits currently used, that require training, if they would wish to use it in other states that have concealed carry laws.

The bill would also legalize the ability to carry Tasers.

The legislation drew immediate opposition from lawmakers of both parties, including Republican state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and state Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, according to the Associated Press.

“The authors of the bill put forward extreme provisions that go beyond even constitutional carry by allowing guns in schools, secure mental health facilities and police stations, while placing the burden on these facilities to protect citizens,” Barca said in a statement.

Gov. Scott Walker and GOP leaders offered general support for the Second Amendment without explicitly saying if they support the bill.

According to Brooks, the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment is a key part of both the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution. Brooks says this legislation expands freedoms and liberties while protecting private property rights.

“Under this bill, if you are legally allowed to own a handgun, you can carry it concealed—no license, no fees, no government hoops to jump through,” Rep. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, another co-author of the bill, said in a statement. 

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