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I attended the  University of Wisconsin, Madison for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I was on the pistol team for most of my undergraduate career, but I was only eligible for one year as a graduate student. While the university rules were hostile to firearms ownership in the 1970s, the social atmosphere was fairly accepting. I kept a pistol, rifle, and shotgun in my dorm room. Only later did I learn . . .

I was in violation of the rules; everyone knew I had them, including the dorm house-fellow, who was nominally responsible for enforcing the rules. Perhaps the fact that I was an ROTC cadet, and on the pistol team made a difference. Wisconsin didn’t have a permit system, as such, back then.

What existed was the dollar-a -ear deputy. It was, in effect, a “may issue” permit system. If you could convince your sheriff that you could be trusted, he deputised you, gave you a card proclaiming the fact, and made you a deputy sheriff. The “dollar-a-year” label came from the joke that that was the nominal pay for the position.

Voila! You could now carry concealed weapons.

A member of the woman’s pistol team became a good friend of mine. She was in graduate school and had learned to shoot in England. When she entered the Wisconsin system, she convinced the Sheriff to give her a deputy card. She told him that she was going to carry for safety, and that she would prefer to do it legally. She got her card.

She regularly carried a Smith & Wesson model 10 2″ or a model 39 with Super Vel hollow points, both of which were fairly new at the time. I approved of her carry. I knew a couple of other women students who had been raped; the times were unsettled during the later days of the Vietnam war; protesters, tear gas, and drugs were common.

Wisconsin passed a very good constitutional amendment protecting the right to keep and bear arms in 1998. The state passed Act 35, which included shall issue and other reforms in 2011. Act 35 had limited campus carry, but it didn’t include carry inside of campus buildings. Now carry in campus buildings is being proposed.


Contact: State Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) (608) 266-9175

Madison, WI – Today, Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) released the Campus Carry Act, a bill that would allow students and faculty to carry concealed firearms in buildings on public college campuses.

Wisconsin’s concealed carry law currently allows the UW System and technical colleges the ability to ban concealed weapons in campus buildings. Such a prohibition requires that permit holders disarm prior to leaving home or a vehicle. “Allowing our public campuses to ban concealed weapons in buildings puts our students at greater risk of becoming victims of crime,” stated Kremer. “Many students walk to and from class in the early morning or late evening, often through high crime areas. Current law requires that they be unarmed. The Campus Carry Act will ensure that our students are no longer denied the right to defend themselves.”

Rep. Kremer continued, “As a legislature, we are regularly challenged to take on the issue of violent crime in certain areas of our state. The Campus Carry Act offers a common-sense solution to this problem by addressing both violent crime prevention and personal protection. It is our hope that with this legislation, we can see a decrease in violent crime on and around our public campuses.”

The Speaker of the Assembly, Robin Vos, has come out in support of the bill. From

Vos said Thursday that he has no problem with the bill since only people who get training can carry concealed weapons. He likened carrying a concealed weapon to carrying a smartphone, calling a gun a tool and everything hinges on who uses it and how.

Wisconsin Gun Owners are lobbying for the bill. From

WGO is urging gun owners statewide to contact their state reps by this Friday, 10/16, to sign onto the Campus Carry Act as a co-sponsor.

I hope that the next time I’m in Madison, I will be able to legally carry into campus buildings. I would enter Bascom Hall and reflect that we can still save a constitutional Republic, with limits on government power, if we work hard enough. Second Amendment supporters are teaching Wisconsin to respect the Constitution.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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  1. D*mn it! Why couldn’t this have come up before I graduated? Even just 12 months ago would have been fine.

  2. Those kids, they too skinny. They ain’t doing enough to help the state economy. BLUE! CHEDDAR! LIMBERGER! (ouch!)

  3. Dean, your description sounds a lot like my undergraduate years at Georgia Tech, except for the plethora of women. We weren’t supposed to keep our firearms in the dorm either (but they could be kept in our cars). Naturally, those of us living on campus always followed the rules, just like in Animal House.

  4. So Wisconsin is the “Eat Cheese or Die” state? Well, I’ve tasted Wisconsin cheese, and I would prefer to die.

    • Methinks ye overgeneralise about the products of hundreds of different cheese factories in America’s Dairyland.

      Wisconsin has lots of great cheeses and great beers, not to mention great people, all produced well outside the corporate limits of Madison or Milwaukee.

    • Maybe you’re just being snarky, but WI makes some of the best cheeses in the world. I’ll confess to being a Tillamook fan, as well as a fan of some French cheeses, but WI is known for cheese (and fat people) for a reason.

  5. I attended Henderson State University, in southern Arkansas about 30 miles from Hot Springs along I-30, in the late 80’s. I can tell you unequivocally, from personal experience and knowledge, that virtually everyone and I do mean EVERYONE, in my small dorm (32 rooms on 2 floors) had a gun in their room or vehicle, in direct contravention of the rules. It didn’t matter if the students were black, white or any other race, or under 18 or 21, whatever. The only students who didn’t have something either couldn’t afford it (and a lot of people WERE poor) or lived so close by as to make it superflous. And you know what? No problems! I can’t recall a single incident involving misuse of a firearm on campus by a resident of school housing in my 5 years off and on there. I’m sure attitudes slowly changed over the years since I left but even now I’d wager dollars to donuts that most students still keep a sidearm in their vehicle or well-hidden in their rooms (because we were good at it).

    Now, it’s true that there are some students who aren’t responsible enough to be trusted with a firearm or other deadly weapon on campus. Hell, some of them ought to have their pencils taken away. But they’re fewer than you might be led to think. In a nutshell, the vast majority of students (I hope!) are plenty responsible regardless of what their pearl-clutching faculty members think. Tempest in a teapot.


  6. Oh. my. god. Everybody’s gonna get shot and die.
    Look at Colorado.
    Look at Utah.
    Look at Alabama.
    There are no more college students in these states because they’ve all been massacred.

    Blood in the streets!!

    It’s time we get control of these wild guns!

  7. Another UW alumni here. Still waiting for the “blood in the streets” that would surely follow passage of our CCW laws. At least the Shrieking from the Madison Elite has quieted down a bit.

  8. Wisconsin politics is always fun to watch (from a distance). This is the state where a few years ago, hundreds of angry teachers called in “sick”, went to Madison, urinated on the floor of the State Capital Building and proceeded to proclaim, “this is what democracy looks like!” A year later, Gov. Walker taught the real civics lesson by winning a recall vote by a wider margin than his original election two years earlier, despite the millions of dollars and hundreds of “workers” the national unions dumped on Wisconsin.

    I wish them well in their campus carry efforts. It’s nice to know that liberty is so close to home.

  9. I call BS. Lived here in WI for 30 years, 20 in Madison. Certified security/firearms/long guns. Never ever heard of $1 deputy card. This isn’t Mayberry. Madison is full of shyster lawyers that would love to sue an elected official who deputized people that aren’t certified leos. Perhaps the author would like to post a copy of this unicorn-like card.

    • Requiring certification for peace officers killed the dollar a year deputy system. I briefly had one in 1978. A few sheriffs were still giving them out in 1981-82, but liability concerns stopped the practice by the middle 1980s.

      That was 30 years ago.

      • I was a deputy 1981-84 and was required to attend 6 weeks training & pass several tests. Those hired on before me were done on a handshake.
        Most of our history the Sheriff has been able to deputize anyone he wishes with no formal requirements.

  10. Learning from Utah is an nice idea for all states if it comes to off places !!
    And learning from the 6th constitunal carry states if a good idea 4 Utah ^^

  11. Dean, a fellow Badger!!!!!!!! On Wisconsin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Walker might not have worked out nationally, but as a Wisconsin gun owner, I couldn’t be happier. Now if the switchblade bill can make it out of committee, we might start giving AZ a run for its money. It has been a pretty incredible recent couple of years for the 2A in Wisconsin.

      • I have suggested to my representatives that they address the confusion on whether or not encased long guns are considered “concealed” while being transported, even when the case is in plain view. We can transport them uncased now (2011), but the concealed issue still trips up the unsuspecting.

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