Wisconsin Republicans' school security bill freaking out Democrats

(AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File)

The shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan has a lot of people looking for a way to try and prevent it from happening elsewhere. This is normal and certainly understandable.


For many, the only possible solution is gun control and no policy can be suggested that touches on guns unless it’s exactly what they want.

Yet some GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin aren’t being deterred.

In the recent aftermath of the mass shooting at a Michigan high school, where four students were killed as well as six students and one teacher were wounded, the Assembly Committee on State Affairs held a public hearing on Assembly Bill 597 (AB 597), legislation that makes it easier to possess a gun in some Wisconsin schools.

“Republican legislators need to stop listening to extreme gun groups and the NRA and start listening to their constituents,” said State Representative Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay). “An overwhelming majority of Wisconsin voters want laws that protect the public from our epidemic of gun violence, not allow more guns in more places – especially schools.”

AB 597 would allow a person to possess a firearm in a place of worship located on the grounds of a private school, if allowed by the place of worship’s written policy. The Wisconsin Council of Churches, Wisconsin Catholic Conference, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) oppose the legislation while the Wisconsin Gun Owners Association and the NRA have registered in support.


In other words, it’s actually making it so people can carry in every church instead of just some churches.

I’m sorry, but that’s not exactly bringing about armageddon here. Guns are already in churches, this just makes it so those who also have a private school aren’t exempt from that.

Typically, these laws also are worded in such a way that if school is in session, the ordinary rules about guns in schools apply.

But should it?

Look, we just saw how well laws forbidding guns in schools worked in Oxford. Yet you’re not going to convince me that none of those teachers wished they had a gun at that exact moment. Hell, allowing teachers and staff to be armed is a completely sane and rational response to such a tragedy, unlike most of the gun control measures we’ve seen thrown about.

After all, anti-Second Amendment types immediately started talking about assault weapon bans and universal background checks and haven’t really backed off on it, despite neither of those propositions having anything to do with what happened in Oxford.

Teachers, however, were there and at least some of them may well have wanted to have a gun available in case something like that happened. It’s unfortunate that laws prevent them from doing so, even while failing to prevent unhinged students from trying to kill as many of their classmates as possible.


So the idea of letting people carry a gun to church if it also just happens to have a private school attached doesn’t really seem like the end of the world.

Of course, anti-Second Amendment lawmakers will frame it as such and then try to pretend Republicans should support their wrongheaded proposals, as has already happened–in the above-linked piece, a Democrat urges her GOP colleagues in the Wisconsin legislature to support a mandatory storage bill–but they’ll also pretend their proposals are the only possible solution.

Then they’ll complain about how our side of the debate refuses to compromise. At this point, I’m really fine with those complaints.

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