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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

 2:39 PM 

Senate approves bill allowing off-duty, former, out-of-state officers to carry guns in school zones

The Senate approved legislation to off-duty, former and out-of-state police officers from gun-free school zone laws if they meet certain requirements over Dem objections.

Some Dems suggested officers, for example, should have to check in with school administrators if they are on school property and carrying a concealed weapon and objected to applying the legislation to out-of-state officers. But those were rejected by Republicans, and the bill cleared 22-11.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, noted the last time he gave a speech at a school, he had to sign in, tell administrators why he was there and was ushered to the room.

“Here, this bill says if you have a gun, you don’t have to go through that rigmarole,” he said.

Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said that would defeat the purpose of the bill because others would know those who were armed were in the building. He said gun-free zones make schools “islands” and suggested things may have turned out differently in the Columbine school shooting 16 years ago if an armed officer would have been present.

“The bad guys don’t check in,” Wanggaard said. “They’re carrying guns to school every day.”

Officers would have to meet certain requirements to carry on school grounds. That includes, for example, an off-duty officer being authorized to carry a firearm and could not be subject to any disciplinary action by the agency that could result in suspension or loss of authority.

Editor's note: The original vote was 22-10 with Sen. Jon Erpenbach out of the room during the roll call. He received unanimous consent to be added as a no vote.


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