The US state of Wisconsin passed a new gun right measure 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 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.
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, 93% more than in 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.”
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.