Madison School District officials said they are “adamantly opposed” to a bill that would allow concealed weapons on school property.
A bill being circulated at the Capitol would allow concealed carry permit holders to have weapons in school zones. It would also allow districts to decide if they want to allow concealed weapons in school buildings.
“We don’t believe that firearms should be carried on school grounds or in our school buildings, period,” said Luis Yudice, safety and security coordinator for the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Yudice said staff in school buildings are trained to alert someone if they see anyone in the building with a firearm. It is a felony to carry a gun on school property.
“Now you’re going to create situations where staff are going to second guess themselves to ask themselves is this person someone who poses a threat to our school or someone who is authorized to be here and it’s going to create a potentially deadly mix that we don’t need,” Yudice said.
But the authors of the bill, which they’re calling the “Wisconsin School Zone Empowerment Act,” say it’s designed to not penalize legal concealed carry permit holders.
“We’re not talking about guns in schools, we’re not talking about all people can suddenly have guns on school property, that’s not what this is about,” Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said. “It’s about a disconnect with the concealed carry law and the gun free school zone law.”
Lazich said a man in her district was arrested and charged with a felony when he went to pick up his granddaughter at school and was carrying a concealed weapon.
She said she had “no position” on why a school may want to allow guns into the building, but co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, had a different opinion.
“If you now know that Wisconsin schools, which are now any shooter knows whether it be a nut or a terrorist, which worries me more than a nut right now, knows that a school is a soft target because there is no one carrying in that building,” Kremer said. “By the time the police get there, especially in a small rural district, it could be 10 or 15 minutes. It’s over, it is no longer a rescue operation. So I think it’s a preventative measure because they will now know there are guns in that building and they will go do something somewhere else, they’re still probably going to do something but it won’t be in our schools.”
The bill faces an unclear future in the Legislature. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday that he would support the bill, but thought it was “highly unlikely” that it would move forward this session.