City News

State Supreme Court: concealed weapons OK on public buses, including campus

Concealed weapons are now allowed on Madison buses, including those on campus routes, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Passengers on Madison buses—including those serving the downtown and campus area—will be permitted to carry concealed weapons, following a state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday.

In a 5-2 conclusion, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed an appeals court decision to maintain a Madison Metro Transit policy that had stricter gun restrictions in place than those in current state law.

Justice Daniel Kelly wrote the opinion for the majority. Justices Ann Walsh Bradley and Shirley Abrahamson opposed.

Wisconsin Carry, a Milwaukee-based group, filed a lawsuit in 2014 challenging Metro Transit’s weapons ban, arguing that the state’s concealed carry law prohibits Madison Transit and Parking from barring weapons on buses.

Kelly argued that the law's purpose is to allow the carrying of concealed weapons as consistently as possible, which extends to public transportation services. Bradley argued the fact that Metro Transit’s policy does not reach to the extent of an ordinance or resolution of any kind.

Michael May, city attorney for Madison, told The Daily Cardinal the ruling left him concerned for the safety of Madison Metro passengers.

“We are very disappointed by the Court’s ruling, which we believe fails to adequately acknowledge the city’s legal authority to control its own property and to protect users of our transit system,” May said in an email.

City officials expect the ruling will also apply to other local transportation systems, according to May.

“We anticipate the Court’s ruling means that other carriers who may not discriminate among their passengers—Greyhound, Van Galder, taxis and the like—will be subject to the same rule. The City will of course comply with the ruling, while examining its other options,” he said.

Metro Transit released a statement Tuesday expressing concern for the safety of passengers, but concluded that they will comply with the law.

City attorneys are still determining when the ruling will take effect.

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