GOP legislators propose gun training in schools

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MADISON- Though the legislature is over a week overdue on passing a budget, members of the state Assembly seem content to spend their time on unnecessary and costly legislation involving our schools. Rep. Ken Skowronski, of Franklin, is the lead sponsor of a bill which, if passed, would require school superintendents to develop curricula for gun education. The bill would then allow schools to decide whether or not they want to offer gun safety classes as an elective.

Now, gun training on its own is not a bad thing, but it is unclear why taxpayer dollars should be paying for it. It is also unclear why the state should be putting a burden on schools and superintendents without appropriate funding or support. Wisconsin’s education funding is already stretched thin for many districts, and a legislator’s fondness of recreation should not stretch those resources further.

More fundamentally, this legislation is concerning because it brings firearms into close proximity of students. Though live ammunition would still not be allowed in schools, this bill would make it easier for potentially violent students to gain access to firearms.

McKenna Oxenden at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin) is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would allow schools to offer on-site gun education classes. Its purpose is to promote gun safety and to boost participation in trap shooting, he said.

The bill would not change a current law that prohibits live ammunition and its use on school property.

The bill would not require schools to offer a class. If they did, students would not have to take it. However, the bill would require school superintendents to develop curricula.  [. . .]

Skowronski was inspired to present the bill not only because he’s been shooting guns since he was 12 but also because he believes there has been a rise in trap shooting clubs in Wisconsin. Trap shooting involves trying to hit clay targets fired into the air.

The bill had 23 Assembly co-sponsors as of last week.

School superintendents across the state expressed concerns about the proposal.

Fran Finco, superintendent at the Onalaska School District, said despite being a gun owner and hunter, he doesn’t see a need for such a class in schools.

“While I believe hunter safety and gun education is important … one more unfunded requirement to teach something in our schools is not necessary, nor would we have time to fit it into our curriculum without dropping something else,” he said.

Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.