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UW Police: Guns on Campus Bad Idea

On the state's largest university campus, police have strong feelings about whether students should be allowed to carry guns. (Ahlapot/iStockPhoto.com)
On the state's largest university campus, police have strong feelings about whether students should be allowed to carry guns. (Ahlapot/iStockPhoto.com)
August 1, 2016

MADISON, Wis. – Five years ago, Wisconsin passed a law with a provision that colleges and universities must allow concealed carry on campus.

But another provision to the law says guns can be banned from campus buildings if signs stating that guns are prohibited are posted at every entrance.

That's what Wisconsin institutions of higher learning did to keep guns out.

Now, with terror attacks and other violence making headlines, some are calling for students to be armed.

Marc Lovicott, a spokesman for the UW-Madison Police Department, says it's a very bad idea.

"We've heard from student groups, we've heard from faculty groups, we've heard from parents, we've heard from alumni who say they don't want this to happen here,” he states. “They feel as if the campuses, and other campuses across the state, would be less safe.

“And they would be less safe. And we agree with them, and we don't believe more guns are the answer."

After the law was passed in 2011, three Democratic members of the State Assembly, Terese Berceau Melissa Sargent and Chris Taylor, introduced a bill that would make carrying weapons on campus a Class One felony, but the idea never advanced in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Taylor said at that time that "if guns reduced crime, the U.S. would have the lowest homicide rate in the industrialized world."

Taylor and others still feel people want more measures promoting gun safety.

Lovicott says campus police feel the same way.

"We feel our colleges don't need more guns,” he stresses. “We feel like they don't belong in classrooms, our student centers, locker rooms, laboratories.

“We just feel that there's no evidence that exists indicating that college campuses would be safer because of concealed carry laws and more guns."

Supporters of students carrying guns often argue that a good guy with a gun could stop a bad guy with a gun.

Lovicott disagrees, saying in such a situation where there's an active shooter, police don't have time to figure out who's the bad guy and who's the good guy, and it just complicates the situation.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI