Bill would end ‘gun-free zones’ on Wisconsin college campuses

A bill introduced Monday would put an end to “gun-free zones” in and around Wisconsin’s public colleges and universities.

The bill’s co-author, state Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, said ending the ban would “send a clear signal to taxpayers in Wisconsin that we are serious about the safety and security of our students and we won’t be providing a steady stream of defenseless, unarmed victims around these universities.”

Kremer, who authored the bill with Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said the proposal is not in response to the Oct. 1 shooting rampage on an Oregon community college campus by a deranged man who sought fame through mass murder.

He said the legislation has been in the works for months, in response to a spike in violence around some college campuses in the state, particularly the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“As Wisconsin legislators, we are constantly being challenged by some of the leaders in our larger communities to stop the violence,” Kremer told Wisconsin Watchdog Monday on the Vicki McKenna Show on Newstalk 1130 WISN. “And I do not believe that disarming a certain segment of law-abiding citizens, our college students, leads to less violence. I believe, instead, it is providing criminals and thugs an easy target to victimize.”

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has the authority to ban guns in and around college campuses, a power enshrined in Chapter 18 of the state’s administrative code. It may do so even though Wisconsin is a concealed carry state — it became one of the last states to pass such a law in 2011.

Kremer’s bill gets rid of a rule, which, he says, has been “a full disarming of all of our students” who become “soft targets” of “criminals and thugs.” It comes with a two-fold goal, the lawmaker said. The bill guarantees the right of personal protection for all law-abiding citizens, and it will help prevent violence in the vicinity of college campuses.

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