Proposal to allow concealed weapons on school grounds stalls - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Proposal to allow concealed weapons on school grounds stalls

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -   An amendment to allow concealed weapons on school grounds stalls.

Yesterday, we learned about the proposal from a republican lawmaker.  The original idea was to allow off-duty or retired officers to carry concealed weapons.  The lawmaker's amendment expanded the idea to give anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns in school buildings and on school grounds.

The lawmaker planned to put that idea to a vote in committee today, but it never happened. The spokeswoman for the republican assembly, Speaker Robin Vos said the idea would not be voted on but did not say why. 

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Republican state lawmaker wants to let anyone with a concealed-carry license to bring a weapon on school grounds. 

But his Democratic opponents say it's a dangerous idea.  Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) says mass shootings like the one in Newtown, CT have shown Americans how vulnerable schools can be.

"When a criminal or a bad person intends to do harm to our children using a weapon they see schools often times as sitting ducks, because they know they're going to go into a school and there will be no one in there to fight back," said Rep. Kleefisch.  Rep. Kleefisch readily admits his idea is controversial, but believes it's time to start looking for new answers on how to stop such tragedies.  "18 other states say concealed-carry can carry on school grounds.  Wisconsin is not one of them.  It's time to talk about whether that is a safer alternative," said Rep. Kleefisch.

"That is extremely frightening to me," responds Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee).  Rep. Kessler sits on the Assembly Criminal Justice Committee that Rep. Kleefisch chairs.  Kessler says he only recently realized an amendment to a different bill would allow anyone with a concealed-carry license to enter a school armed.  "Allowing carrying concealed weapons on the grounds of a school jeopardizes safety for everybody - teachers, students, parents and the administration," said Rep. Kessler.

The original bill would allow off-duty, retired, or out-of-state law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.  But Kleefisch says he truly wonders if that goes far enough.

"Do we have support for the amendment?," asked Kleefisch.  "I'm counting votes and I don't think the amendment's going to pass at this stage of the game.  But at the very least we're going to talk about whether there are ways to make our schools safer."

Kleefisch says even if the amendment passes and eventually becomes law, individual schools would still have the right to prohibit weapons on their property.

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice will vote on the amendment Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Room 300 northeast of the State Capitol. 

 

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