MADISON — Pledging to keep its students safe, the Germantown School Board last week passed a resolution calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the Legislature to help districts provide more security options — including changing the state’s concealed carry law to allow license holders to possess a firearm on school grounds.
State Rep. Dan Knodl, a Republican from Germantown, says he would be happy to lead the legislation to help better secure Wisconsin’s schools, but he fears Evers, beholden to the gun-control lobby, would veto any bill giving schools the right to opt out of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.
The resolution came at the request of school board member Bob Soderberg, who said more security steps must be considered to “ensure our kids and teachers go home safe.”
The manifold resolution, which passed unanimously, urges policymakers to amend the state’s concealed carry statutes to allow permit holders to possess a firearm on school grounds and within school buildings “if authorized by the local school district.”
Wisconsin’s concealed carry law, signed by then-Gov. Scott Walker in 2011, does not include language allowing for permit holders to carry on school grounds. Evers vetoed a bill earlier this year that would have allowed licensed individuals to keep firearms in their cars on school property, saying it would erode the gun-free zone law.
Knodl said that bill will have to be resurrected and could be amended to include Germantown’s request.
“I think Germantown is approaching it the right way,” the lawmaker said. “It still goes back to the school district to properly vet who is going to be allowed to be armed on campus.”
The resolution also asks the state to provide advanced defense and firearm training to all school staff that wish to attend the session.
In the wake of the Texas elementary school shooting in June in which a gunman murdered 19 children, more states are mulling arming school staff. Ohio and Louisiana are the latest on that front.
More than two-dozen states, including Texas, allow teachers or school staff to be armed in the classroom under varying conditions, according to a 2020 RAND Corporation study.
The Mississippi Board of Education recently updated language in its policies that will allow districts to set their own rules on allowing concealed carry permit holders on campus.
“A school district may, in its discretion, prohibit or allow its employees who hold enhanced conceal carry licenses to possess weapons at the school,” the agency told ABC News.
Critics say the measures are ineffective and introduce more risk.
Knodl said it’s time to take emotion out of the debate, admittedly difficult to do with the media and liberal gun control activists stoking fears. Contrary to the fear mongering, Knodl said the measures don’t force teachers to carry a gun.
“I don’t want an untrained teacher carrying a weapon,” the lawmaker said.
Germantown Schools’ resolution also calls for funding for weapons detection systems, like those used at sporting events, and money to hire school security aides, such as retired law enforcement. And the district is calling for more funding for mental health services, as well as laws mandating higher bail and strong sentences for violent offenders.
“They want to send a message with signs that say any piece of garbage that approaches the school with the intention to cause harm is going to be met with greater force so we can stop the violence before it starts,” Knodl said. “That’s where we need to get.”