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Two bills that would expand gun rights in Wisconsin, primarily under the umbrella of the state law allowing for the licensed carrying of concealed weapons, are on their way to Gov. Tony Evers' desk.

Two bills that would expand gun rights in Wisconsin, primarily under the umbrella of the state law allowing for the licensed carrying of concealed weapons, are on their way to Gov. Tony Evers' desk.

The state Senate voted Tuesday on party lines to approve bills that would allow concealed weapons in vehicles on school grounds and allow residents of other states to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin as long they are licensed in another state.

An Evers spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the governor is expected to veto the legislation.

Assembly Bill 495 would allow a person who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon to possess a firearm, in a vehicle, on school grounds. Under current law, possession of firearms on school grounds is generally prohibited.

Proponents say the bill would allow parents with concealed carry permits to pick up their children from school without going through the hassle of unloading, removing and locking up their guns.

The bill "will ensure that parents who hold a concealed carry permit won’t accidentally violate the law when picking up or dropping off their child in their school parking lot," said bill author Sen. André Jacque, R-De Pere, during committee testimony last month.

"It is important to allow parents to protect themselves and their families as they go about their day," Jacque said.

Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, noted that students at Milwaukee's Rufus King High School held a walkout earlier this month calling for an end to gun violence following a shooting — which injured five people — outside the school.

"As parents, we all need to realize that our schools are our kids’ safe space, and they should be kept as such. And not allowing guns on school grounds does a lot to help protect that," Johnson said.

The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association; the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association; Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Inc. and Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc.

Opposing the bill are the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, the WAVE Educational Fund, the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses, the Wisconsin Association of School Personnel Administrators, the Wisconsin Council for Administrators of Special Services, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, and the Wisconsin Retired Educators Association.

Assembly Bill 518 would allow a resident of another state to carry a concealed weapon in Wisconsin as long they are licensed in another state. Current law only allows such reciprocity to be granted if the other state performs background checks before granting a concealed weapons permit. AB 518 would allow reciprocity regardless of whether a background check was required.

"This legislation seeks to remove an unnecessary bureaucratic trip wire to some people in Wisconsin from having their concealed carry permit from being accepted," said bill author Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, during committee testimony last year. "The cost of failing to act is the worst kind of bureaucratic hassle."

Existing policy could prevent people from states without reciprocity from buying vacation homes in, or visiting, Wisconsin, Stroebel argued.

In written testimony submitted last year, Heidi Rose, program director of the WAVE Educational Fund, argued the proposal would weaken the state's protections against gun violence.

The bill is supported by the National Rifle Association; Safari Club; the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association; Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Inc. and Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc.

It is opposed by the cities of Madison and Milwaukee and the WAVE Education Fund.

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