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Saturday, March 02, 2024

Proposed bill would allow concealed carry on campus

Students and faculty could carry concealed weapons on UW System and technical college campuses under a bill announced Monday.

The proposal, authored by state Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, and state Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, would exempt publicly funded universities from the state’s concealed carry laws, allowing those with a permit to bring weapons anywhere on campus, including inside buildings.

It would also repeal UW System code, which “generally prohibits persons from carrying, possessing or using any dangerous weapon on university lands or in university buildings or facilities,” according to analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau.

“The unfortunate reality is that campus gun-free zones merely serve to concentrate populations of vulnerable targets on campus and surrounding areas,” the bill authors said in a memo seeking co-sponsorship. “Students attending our taxpayer-funded colleges and universities should not be denied their Second Amendment right to carry a weapon for self-defense.”

The authors cited an incident in Nevada where a student was sexually assaulted at gunpoint as rationale for the measure.

“These types of crimes are only made easier when students are unable to adequately protect themselves,” the authors said in the memo. “It is time that we realize this fact before a similar tragedy strikes here in Wisconsin.”

Currently, students can carry guns on campus but cannot bring them inside campus buildings. Kremer said this rule makes students vulnerable to violent crime.

“It really is a useless measure," Kremer said in a radio interview Monday.

John Lucas, executive director of University Communications at UW-Madison, declined comment but said in an email the university was “evaluating” the bill.

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