Proposed bill would allow concealed carry in university buildings

Students voice their concerns over bill addressing campus safety

A bill proposed in the state legislature by two Republican lawmakers would allow those with concealed carry permits into university and college buildings.

Under the current concealed carry law, Wisconsin colleges and universities can decide on whether or not to allow weapons inside campus buildings. The new bill would prohibit universities and technical colleges from imposing those bans.

UW-La Crosse senior Jacob Pusateri says recent shootings on college campuses around the country hasn’t effected students at UW-La Crosse.
“We’re drawn away from it, so I don’t think it’s hit home as much as it should.” said Pusateri.

As for solutions to improving campus safety, when it comes to removing the ban on concealed weapons in university buildings, it’s an option, Pusateri said, worth considering.

“If you were someone intending to do harm, and you knew you’ve got 100 professors that are probably armed in there probably too, you’re probably going to double think that.” said Pusateri.

Changing how those obtain a concealed carry license, however, is something Pusateri said needs to be addressed in order for the proposed bill to be effective.

“You need to be certified,” he said. “They need to know who’s carrying these guns, and that would go miles in helping that.”

Others on campus say bringing more guns on campus doesn’t help.

“That would not make me feel very safe knowing that my professor has a gun because maybe someone else would also bring a gun to try and counteract that so they feel more safe.” said Tyler Leslie, a UW-La Crosse junior.

Chancellor Joe Gow hopes that those most affected by the bill will be included in the discussion.

“I think the people that are directly impacted should be asked about this,” said Gow. “And I hope, as they talk about this idea, they are going to talk to students, faculty, and staff on the university campuses.”

With recent shootings on campuses, it’s a discussion, Gow said, worth having.

“I hope that we’ll take the time to have a good thorough conversation and discussion and involve everybody, to say, is this policy a good idea or not,” said Gow. “I look forward to participating in that dialogue.”

The bill, titled by the sponsors in a memo as the ‘Campus Carry Act,’ remains in the legislature.

Gov. Walker said he is undecided on whether he will support the bill.
The University of Wisconsin system released a statement about the bill, saying ‘We have significant concerns and questions with this proposal and cannot currently support it.’

They are currently engaged in conversation with legislative authors, leaders and police professionals in addressing their concerns.