College News

Amid Madison gun incidents, legislators and students rally against permitless carry bill

Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, was one of two legislators who spoke out against SB 169 Wednesday night.

Image By: Jon Yoon

Following four gun-related incidents throughout Madison in the last week, a campus protest of concealed carry on Tuesday and a mass shooting in Las Vegas Oct. 1, legislators and student leaders gathered at the Capitol to voice opposition to a proposed permitless carry bill.

The speakers voiced opposition to the proposed Senate Bill 169, which would allow for permitless carry of weapons in Wisconsin. Opponents of the bill say it could also pave the way for campus carry, which would allow for weapons to be carried on the UW-Madison campus.

On a chilly Wednesday night, fewer than 20 people were in attendance for the rally, but that didn’t stop speakers from voicing fiery resistance to the bill. State Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, spoke about the effects of allowing concealed weapons on campus, and the role they could play in the education of students.

“You cannot learn if you are worried that the student sitting next to you may have a gun,” Taylor said.

Several of the speakers, including Reverend Jerry Hancock, mentioned the Las Vegas shooting. Hancock, who called the bill “insulting,” spoke out against the National Rifle Association, accusing them of increasing violence in America by “encouraging the use of guns where they were never meant to be used.”

“It’s cruel to bring this bill to a vote when the country is still reeling from another mass shooting,” Hancock said. “In Wisconsin, we know that guns belong at hunting camps, not at Camp Randall.”

State Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, spoke about gun responsibility and the importance of standing against the NRA and pro-weapon organizations. She accused these organizations of “bullying” state legislators into passing a bill that represents the minority of Wisconsinites.

“We know that there are going to be another 90 people that die tomorrow and again the day after that, because of the inaction of leaders in our community, and I don’t want to be one of them,” Sargent said.

Among the speakers at the rally were three UW student advocates: Katherine Kerwin, Kelly Ward and Jordan Madden. Kerwin, a campus organizer and the Legislative Affairs Committee chair for Associated Students of Madison, spoke out about her experience with the fight against campus carry and gun violence on campus.

“I have seen what students, I have seen what parents, and I have seen what Wisconsin residents feel and what they think about campus carry and insensible gun legislation,” Kerwin said. “People are angry. I’m here to remind you that we are in the majority.”

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