On Monday, a variety of state politicians and Madison community members met to discuss legislation proposed by state Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, that would permit concealed carry within UW-Madison buildings.
The university currently allows concealed carry on campus grounds, but not inside campus buildings—and this is how it should stay. Concealed carry has no place on campus, especially within campus buildings.
Kremer believes that concealed carry within campus buildings should be permitted because it is already allowed on campus grounds. He makes the point that since concealed carry is already allowed on campus grounds, students carrying guns face a major question when wanting to attend class: Where do they store their guns?
It is for this very reason that I believe concealed carry should not be permitted in UW-Madison’s buildings, or even on campus for that matter.
I respect and appreciate every American’s Second Amendment rights, but there is no need for students or staff to possess guns while on campus. UWPD has a strong presence on campus, and their duty is to protect the members of our campus community—students are here to learn.
In fact, every UW System police chief signed a letter in opposition to the legislation of concealed carry on campus. The letter, published on UW-Madison’s website, repeatedly emphasizes how safe UW System colleges are, stating that they are “among the safest of any place in this state.”
When the people that are charged with keeping our campuses safe are opposed to something, shouldn’t we all be?
The letter goes on to discuss a study released by Stanford University on the effectiveness of concealed carry as a safety measure. This study concluded that more armed individuals do not increase safety—and even suggests that the presence of right-to-carry laws are associated with an increase in violent crime.
Additionally, the UW System police chiefs cited a study from the Department of Justice which found that 93 percent of all violent crimes that victimize college students occur off campus, a point Kremer makes.
He recognizes that the UW System has very safe campuses but believes that the “issue is the crime around campuses.”
It is on this very point that state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, disagrees with Kremer—and so do I. Areas surrounding UW-Madison’s campus and other campuses around the state may be scenes of crimes against students, but this does not justify making campus less safe.
Students come to campus to learn, to discover themselves and to partake in debates about a variety of topics. The presence of a gun is something that threatens all of these things. The presence of a gun threatens the sense of security that students can find in the classroom and would prevent students from speaking freely about controversial topics.
Furthermore, in light of recent events, the presence of a gun could also be threatening to students from underrepresented groups. We have struggled as a campus community, especially in recent semesters, to make these individuals feel welcomed on campus, and allowing concealed carry would surely only hurt campus efforts to make our community more inviting.
The motto of our university is “All ways forward,” something that Kremer and other House representatives have clearly overlooked. Concealed carry on campus, especially in campus buildings, is something that would move our community backward.
State legislators need to realize what is best for the UW System, and we, the students, need to remind them what is best for our campus. Kewaskum is not home to a UW System school, something that shines through in Kremer’s proposed legislation. So, those of us living on college campuses and in the surrounding communities need to remind him and other state legislators that their policies are not best for everyone, especially those of us who would actually be affected by them.
I reiterate: Concealed carry has no place on college campuses. And it is our duty to make sure it does not find its way to our campus.
Jack is a sophomore majoring in journalism. What do you think about concealed carry inside campus buildings? Let us know at email@example.com.