Union pushes for MCTS bus drivers with CCW permits to carry guns

NOW: Union pushes for MCTS bus drivers with CCW permits to carry guns

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The union representing Milwaukee County Transit System bus drivers is pushing for a rule change that would allow drivers with CCW permits to carry guns on the bus.

James Macon, the union president, says the concern is driver safety and security.

“We're one of the highest crime places in the United States,” he said. “It's way overdue."

Passengers with CCW permits can bring weapons onto MCTS buses.

Macon says female drivers who drive at night in secluded areas are especially at risk.

"MCTS is really not doing anything about security,” he said. “Everything they say is money, money, money. Safety's supposed to come first."

There have been violent incidents, including a driver being assaulted with a knife earlier this month, but MCTS says they’re exceedingly rare.

A spokesperson told us there were 15 physical acts of aggression against drivers last year, out of 30 million rides.

In a statement about the proposal to allow armed drivers, MCTS said, "Mr. Macon's public demand is an irresponsible proposal."

Tracy Humfeld is a longtime rider who says she’s never seen a driver attacked.

To her, armed drivers will only make buses more unsafe.

"The bullet goes stray, somebody gets hurt,” Humfeld said. “I just think it's a bad idea overall, there's too many people. It's not just the bus driver's life in danger."

Aaron Copus is a passenger who weighs the drivers’ ability to defend themselves more heavily.

"They should definitely have guns," he said. “They're trapped in that little thing with that gate. If I walked up and put a gun in his face, it's not like he can go anywhere. He's trapped."

Macon says the majority of the union’s drivers support the proposal.

Contract negotiations between the union and MCTS reopen June 3.

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