Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Gun control policies remain unchanged despite increasing rates of gun violence

‘It’s clear that gun violence in Wisconsin and in our nation is an epidemic,’ associate professor says
Emily Hamer

There have been 599 mass shootings across the country so far this year. Gun violence has been more frequent in the last five years than it has in any other five-year period since 1996.

On Oct. 18, 14 schools across Wisconsin faced active shooter threats, including districts in Milwaukee, Racine, and Stevens Point, among others, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Despite gun violence becoming more prevalent, policies have stagnated, according to senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee).


“At a policy level and a statewide level, there have been zero policies passed to actually address these shootings,” Larson said. “If anything, there’s been open flirtation with eliminating permits for concealed carry and just letting anybody who wants to carry a concealed gun to do so.”

The lack of new policies is part of the reason there are so many shootings and situations involving guns in the United States, Larson said.

Larson called the gun epidemic a self-perpetuating cycle.

The more gun violence there is, the more the gun industry pumps up the fear and says the only way to stop this is if you have a gun, and then more people have more guns, and then there are more shootings, Larson said.

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Associate professor of Educational Policy Studies, Erica O. Turner echoed Larson’s thoughts. Small children at school, people at their places of worship and others have lost their lives because of gun violence, and there continues to be no real action taken, Turner said.

“It’s clear that gun violence in Wisconsin and in our nation is an epidemic,” Turner said.

Turner also said gun violence is a scary possibility for parents, and she has communicated with her children at public schools in the Madison area during active shooter threats.

Turner mentioned there were proposals to allow concealed carry on the University of Wisconsin campus in 2016.

When this proposal was brought up in 2016, university leaders and every UW system police chief said they opposed any legislation allowing concealed carry in university buildings, according to UW News.

UW Police Department executive director of communications Marc Lovicott said UWPD trains yearly to respond to active shooter threats. They now call it an “active threat” instead, as people sometimes use vehicles or other non-traditional weapons to cause harm.

“A number of years ago, nobody saw an active threat being somebody using a vehicle to run over a large number of individuals and create casualties, so we now look at that as an active threat response and as a possibility,” Lovicott said. “It’s not just about responding. It’s about preventing and having protocols in place, so we’re limiting the ability for that to happen by putting barricades in place for larger events, etc.”

Lovicott also mentioned the recent incidents of false threats are likely incidents of “swatting,” or attempting to call first responders to an area to cause chaos. Swatting has occurred at the university in the past, which has led UWPD to take more measures to try to ensure 911 calls are real, such as checking to see if other calls have been received or fire alarms have been pulled in allegedly affected buildings.

These false reports of active shooter threats are part of a national trend that is still unexplained, according to Channel 3000. Schools nationwide have received calls since September reporting active shooter situations that did not occur.

Turner also mentioned a TikTok trend of swatting schools last month in California and South Carolina, one of which resulted in 150 officers being called to a school, despite no real threat.

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Lovicott said despite false allegations, UWPD will always take active threat reports seriously.

“First and foremost, I think they should know that we take these seriously,” Lovicott. “So the moment we know of a threat on campus, we immediately take action.”

UWPD introduced online training courses in 2019 for an active threat response, in addition to an online active threat response on their UWPD website. Lovicott hopes these resources will encourage students to be aware and know what tools they have to protect themselves.

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