Education Jon Skolnik

Wisconsin Republicans Pass Bill Allowing Some High School Students to Bring a Gun to Campus

The GOP-backed bill comes amid a national upsurge in gun violence.
Child holding gun (Shutterstock)

By Jon Skolnik / Salon.com

Wisconsin Republicans just passed a spate of gun rights measures that include lowering the state’s concealed carry age requirement from 21 to 18, effectively allowing high school students to carry firearms on school grounds.

The decision was approved by the state assembly last Thursday as part of an ongoing Second Amendment push by the lower chamber’s GOP majority. 

“If you’re old enough to fight for your country, [if] you’re old enough to sign contracts, if you’re old enough to decide who the president of the United States is, we think you’re old enough to be responsible with your rights and to be able to protect yourself,” Republican Rep. Shae Sortwell of Gibson, the bill’s chief sponsor, said last week. 

Guns are typically banned on school property in Wisconsin, but according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one of the measures would do away with this convention. The bills would also allow Wisconsinites with concealed carry licenses to bring firearms into churches as well as permit out-of-staters with a concealed carry license to bring guns into the Badger State, according to the Associated Press

Wisconsin Democrats, for their part, have railed against the legislative package amid the national uptick in gun violence. The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission recorded a total of 857 nonfatal shootings in 2021 – about 93% more than that of 2019.  

“Guns do not belong anywhere in or near schools,” said Democratic state Rep. Deb Andraca. “Collectively, what these bills would do, they would allow high school seniors to carry a loaded gun in the car to school grounds [and] at school events.”

Democratic state Rep. Lisa Subeck likewise questioned whether guns “make people feel safer,” saying, “In this state, you can get a concealed carry permit and never once get any hands-on firing a gun and that’s terrifying.”

Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE), a grassroots organization aimed at curtailing gun violence, has also opposed the bills, suggesting that they flout federal law around gun sales.

Because no one under 21 is federally legal to purchase a firearm, Bonavia told an NBC Chicago affiliate, “this age group that they’re talking about would likely need to be purchasing their gun from the gray market, from private sellers,” adding: “Which means that there would be no background check conducted on those purchases.”

All of the measures were passed in the Assembly with a voice vote, sending the package to the Wisconsin Senate. If the state Senate approves, the package will need to be signed by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who is likely to veto the measures. While the governor has not directly commented on the package, in the past he’s pushed for gun control measures, such as universal background checks and red flag laws.

John Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News. 

15 comments

  1. Ahh, time for the Kubbutz land land thieves to come on over the pond in order to teach those kids how to use a gun to oppress, scare, and eliminate any critic of an idea or counter-arugment. Imagine that, in Israel, an automatic weapon for each man, woman and child in those illegal settlements.

  2. “If you’re old enough to fight for your country, [if] you’re old enough to sign contracts, if you’re old enough to decide who the president of the United States is, we think you’re old enough to be responsible with your rights and to be able to protect yourself,”

    That just tells me the age requirements for those things need to be raised, preferably to 25 which is when the human brain finishes developing…(allegedly)

  3. Racism and misogyny and the myth of masculinity help people become comfortable with the value of things above life. It all fits in this age of climate change – the product of centuries growing obsession with power over life. Guns and Bombs will help to finish the job, slowly, murderously painful yet blind to our own feelings.

    1. “only in America is the father vestigial: the american mind and conscience is feminine”. geoffrey Gorer

  4. Why stop at 18? Let’s get our kids used to this new way of living in the US; let’s have them start learning how to fire a small pistol (suitable for little hands) right after kindergarten. You can’t grow up to be a 2nd Amendment loving citizen if you can’t lock and load while your learning how write your name, color butterflies and tie your shoes, right? …..sigh…….

    1. Unfortunately, WI AB 843, proposed by some lessor beings described as assemblymen are trying to do just that. They wet themselves with excitement at the thought of destroying any chance students have to actually have a better education than their sparse ones, all while fomenting more division and distraction from the rape of what is left of this state. Sad.

  5. Based on the evidence at hand, a rational person could only conclude that Republicans, generally speaking, are suffering from severe mental illness. Their ability to rationally assess risk is so distorted that they can only perceive a world brimming with predators . Extending the Republican thinking to its logical conclusion only ends in mass destruction. Even in their ideal world where commies, Marxists, socialists, progressives, liberals, environmentalists, RINOs, etc. are abolished, their extreme paranoia and hardwired belief that subversives lurk behind every bush ready to pounce, will compel them to identify and destroy said subversives until nothing remains.

  6. One of the inconsistencies in the concealed or open carry gun laws is that anyone can just say no to the guns on their private properties. I live in Nevada and guns are everywhere. Anyone can open carry and the permitted can conceal carry as long as they have a pulse and have paid the correct people the correct amount of money, oh and a few hours of “training”. But the community college, the libraries, every business can say no you can’t carry them in here, are you crazy, that’s simply too dangerous. I can’t think of any other reason for them to say no to a weapon, is there another reason I’m missing? How is it not dangerous to carry them in public but it is dangerous inside these specific buildings? The hypocrisy is ripe in this thinking. If we pass a law to say that it is ok for a certain person to carry a gun then people have no right to say, “except in here”. You don’t want guns in your building then outlaw the carrying of guns. Get your priorities for society in order. A society that carries guns will always be a society of violence, it’s common sense.

  7. interesting in USA the fake progressive like the nazis advocate for gun control—in Europe and Latin America the left wing opposes gun control, the right wing wants it.
    “the american liberal/progressive wants to preserve the essence of the past. the USA conservative wants more progress. the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future; the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the past”. geoffrey gorer

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