Wisconsin Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, wants to amend the state’s concealed carry law to replicate the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act, which allows permit holders to carry on school grounds. In February, Kremer co-sponsored a similar bill which would apply the law to all schools but has since decided to target private schools exclusively, calling it “an easier political lift.”
Kremer said it will be up to individual schools to craft policies about whether staff members can carry concealed firearms inside instructional buildings. As parents gathered on Saturday, at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson, Wisconsin, Kremer held a discussion on school safety policies. He told parents that allowing trained staff members to carry inside buildings could prevent an active shooter situation. Kremer told the Journal Sentinel, “This is a real issue. This is not fear mongering.” No parents present opposed Kremer’s amendment.
Opponents of Kremer’s intention to amend the law in Wisconsin argue against his efforts. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, released a study last month claiming college campus carry laws “invite tragedy” and said research proves armed civilians aren’t good at stopping mass shootings. One statistic, he says, reports that only 18 of the last 111 “high-fatality mass shootings” involving six or more victims occurred in gun-free or gun-restricting zones over the last 20 years.
Concealed carry groups claim that Webster doesn’t differentiate between the public rampage-style shootings perpetrated in Newtown, San Bernardino and the Virginia Tech campus from those committed in private residences during domestic disputes. The Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry said, “Only 30 of the 111 incidents happened in state with “shall-issue” concealed handgun licensing laws, of which 16 happened inside private residences.”
The group concluded that, a permit holder “could have reasonably and lawfully intervened” in only a dozen of the 111 cited cases and those twelve include two incidents in which the public portion of the shooting involved the gunman firing a rifle from the cover and concealment of an automobile, another scenario that doesn’t fit the model of a typical rampage shooting and that doesn’t lend itself to armed intervention by a CHL holder.”
An October 2015 Gallup poll reports that 56 percent of Americans would feel safer if more Americans carried concealed weapons. More than two-thirds of respondents aged 18-29 said armed permit holders would make them feel safer and half lived in urban areas.