The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Sen. Jesse James discusses firearm laws on UW campuses

Resolution to be reintroduced at next Student Senate meeting
Photo by Cade Fisher
Resolution 67-R-11 was under discussion by IGA members and anyone who attended the open forum.

Sen. Jesse James, R-Altoona, joined the Intergovernmental Affairs Commission to discuss a resolution recently tabled by the Student Senate.

The IGA meeting began with a recap of a lobbying trip to Madison where members met with state senators and representatives in the Wisconsin State Capitol. They then discussed plans for a voting drive and Motivational Mondays, giving out treats to students at the start of the academic week.

The group then discussed resolution 67-R-11, a resolution authored by third-year Student Senator Matthew Lehner attempting to put the Student Senate’s support behind S.B. 982.

S.B. 982 is a bill that would change the charge for having a firearm on campus from a class B forfeiture for trespassing, requiring a fine not to exceed $1,000, to a class A misdemeanor.

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The resolution was tabled by the Student Senate for IGA to review it. The discussion on Friday began by looking at the specific references the bill cited to call for urgency for the passage of S.B. 982. 

The resolution noted the Kansas City shooting this month and the Michigan State shooting last year. The group discussed the viability and necessity of these references. The group also discussed the authoring of the resolution as only Lehner contributed to the initial drafting.

The main point brought up during the discussion was the partisanship of the resolution. When discussing the resolution, some words that included “fiercely” and “unapologetically” were under discussion for bipartisanship.

“I think to insinuate that this is the ‘right thing to do’ puts a lot of students who might disagree with something like this into an ‘other’ category,” IGA Director Mei Bean said. “If we pass this then it’s the senate’s opinion.”

IGA focused on how the resolution could use adjustments to be more bipartisan. They also discussed how the bill would affect other UW schools and the communities around the universities, not just the students. 

The discussion continued and veered toward the idea of people having guns on campus and how S.B. 982 could prevent incidents. James said that a lot of people know information when these tragedies occur and that a focus should be on reporting.

“If they were a responsible gun-carrying person, absolutely,” James said. “But what’s the purpose of why they have a gun on them or forget it or whatever and that’s when you need to start asking questions and get uncomfortable.”

James also discussed other alternatives to safely storing guns. He referenced a program the Altoona Police Department utilizes that allows people to store guns at the police department, a system that the UW-Eau Claire University Police also has for students to store their guns.

“We had community members that brought in their guns if they felt that their family members had red flags popping up,” James said. “No questions asked, but the best part was that as an agency we knew about it then.”

Resolution 67-R-11 will enter the Student Senate again on Monday and discussions will continue on whether the resolution should be passed, voted down or tabled.

S.B. 982 has not been able to make it through the State Senate, and the State Assembly session ended Feb. 22 so there is a low probability of the bill getting through the legislature.

The IGA commission holds weekly meetings from 3-4 p.m. on Fridays in the Centennial Room of Davies Student Center.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].

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