Legislators are arguing over a controversial bill allowing any individual with a concealed carry permit to bring guns into private schools, with some lawmakers arguing it could bring more violence to schools, while other say the bill would help reduce the risk of school shootings in the state.
State Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, recently proposed the Private School Carry Act to allow those with concealed carry permits to bring firearms into private schools, in hopes of securing private campuses in Wisconsin.
“Locked doors with cameras, emergency drills, a school resource officer (if you’re lucky), windowless doors for the classroom?” said Kremer, in a press release. “Sure, some of these efforts may prove effective, but there is an additional tool that state lawmakers have been denying parents and their school administrators – the ability to secure a campus with additional armed security through the use of concealed carry if they so choose – something that Ohio schools realized and have been expanding since Sandy Hook.”
Already, two Ohio school districts have guns hidden away in safes inside schools, only allowed to be unlocked, in case of emergency, by staff who are part of a confidential team.
However, some legislators believe guns are the not answer to school protection.
State School Superintendent Tony Evers, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, argued the need for stricter gun laws in Wisconsin, following the gruesome killings in Las Vegas and Florida.
“It’s important to have the prevent measures, but the fact of the matter is if we don’t do something as a country around this issue of guns, we’re going to be seeing another massacre every month,” Evers told the Baraboo News Republic. “It should not be a NRA/hunter vs. anti-gun people issue. It should be how in the hell can we figure out how to keep these guns out of the hands of people?”
Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association spoke out against the prospect of concealed carry in schools, stating that there should be no reason to bare arms in schools in the first place.
At the same time, staff at La Crescent High School also argued the measure would be unsafe and uncomfortable. Fran Finco, the Onalaska Superintendent, said a teacher's primary role should be to teach, and placing another concern into their hands adds unnecessary responsibility on their part.
“No matter where I go, people feel that they have been disadvantaged by [Gov. Scott Walker] in a way that’s hurtful,” Evers said. “The idea that we need to divide and conquer really doesn’t do much to aid our economy or have people feel good about the state of Wisconsin.”
This week, the Wisconsin Assembly passed the Republican bill to create a grant program to aid schools who hope to hire armed guards on staff. That bill will now head on to the Senate.