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Guns at Camp Randall Stadium, in Classrooms?

UW-Madison police say allowing firearms at Camp Randall Stadium would be a security nightmare. Courtesy: UW-Madison
UW-Madison police say allowing firearms at Camp Randall Stadium would be a security nightmare. Courtesy: UW-Madison
October 19, 2015

MADISON, Wis. – A bill to allow students to carry firearms at Wisconsin's technical colleges and University of Wisconsin System schools is being circulated at the capitol.

Right now, those institutions are allowed to ban weapons inside campus buildings.

The Republican sponsors of the bill say allowing students to carry guns would be a deterrent to crime.

The UW-Madison Police Department disagrees.

Spokesman Marc Lovicott says allowing firearms at the Kohl Center or Camp Randall Stadium would be a security nightmare.

"We have an obligation every football Saturday to protect 80,000 people who pack Camp Randall Stadium,” he points out. “We take that responsibility very seriously and now we're talking about the possibility of individuals being allowed to bring weapons into a facility like that."

Lovicott emphasizes that according to FBI statistics, you are less likely to become a victim of a violent crime at UW-Madison than you are in the state of Wisconsin as a whole.

And he says allowing students to carry firearms would put the safety of other students, faculty, staff and guests at risk.

Lovicott says the existing state law appropriately balances individual rights with community safety. Plus, he says, the typical student is still very much in a developmental stage.

"Our students sometimes make poor decisions,” he states. “We deal with that when we're talking about issues like underage drinking and students who drink themselves unconscious. And now the idea of wanting to put guns in their hands just doesn't make sense to us."

According to Lovicott, the idea of allowing weapons in a stadium or a classroom creates a major security issue.

He says the training required to obtain a concealed carry permit in Wisconsin is minimal, and stresses that sworn police officers go through constant training for firearms safety.

"Hours and hours and hours and hours of training to protect our campus,” he stresses. “And those are the protectors. We just don't feel there's evidence out there to support the idea that putting guns in the hands of our students – we don't think that's a good idea."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI