Evers, Democrats Unveil Background Checks Bill
“Universal background checks” on gun sales shouldn’t need “permission from NRA,” Evers says.
Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers on Thursday rolled out a proposal to expand background checks on gun sales in Wisconsin.
Under the bill, which is sometimes called a “universal background check” measure, gun sales would have to be made through a federally licensed firearms dealer and involve a background check.
Flanked by the Democratic lieutenant governor, attorney general and more than a dozen lawmakers at a Capitol press conference, Evers proclaimed the plan both “reasonable” and “moderate.”
“This is an issue that should transcend political parties,” Evers said. “It’s time to stop waiting for permission from the NRA. Enough is enough, folks.”
The governor accused lawmakers of dragging their feet on the issue.
“Those in power have failed to do much more than say, ‘Jeez, we’re sorry,'” he said.
Evers also pointed out strong public support for universal background checks.
According to a March 2018 Marquette University Law School poll, 81 percent of Wisconsin residents support background checks for gun purchases online and at gun shows. Polling wasn’t conducted by the group on other specific gun-related proposals, though a broad question about the efficacy of gun control measures found 43 percent of respondents thought the laws wouldn’t deter mass shootings.
Speaking at the press conference, Johnson became emotional as she held aloft pictures of Milwaukee children killed by gun violence.
“I will never forget the sounds that family made when that casket closed,” Johnson said, recounting attending a funeral for Sierra Guyton, a 10-year-old girl killed by gunfire at a Milwaukee playground in 2014.
Middleton Police Chief Charles Foulke also spoke in support of the plan. Foulke oversaw the response to a mass shooting incident at a Middleton software company in 2018.
Foulke said the shooter in that incident obtained his gun without passing a background check.
“This proposal requiring background checks on every firearm is common sense,” Foulke said. “I would not wish that day or the follow up on anyone.”
The governor has been a champion of universal background checks and a so-called “red flag” law in Wisconsin in the wake of mass shootings in Ohio and Texas earlier this month.
Several states enacted such laws, also known as extreme risk protective orders, in the wake of the deadly attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. A number of reports following that shooting highlighted warning signs exhibited by the shooter.
Under such laws, law enforcement notified by family or friends can petition a judge to temporarily revoke someone’s right to buy, own or carry weapons.
Evers has said he has considered calling a special session of the state Legislature to take up the proposals. The governor said Thursday that is still an option he is considering.
The plan for expanded background checks faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled state Legislature, where the GOP holds a 63-36 majority in the Assembly and 19-14 majority in the Senate.
Earlier in the week, leaders of the Assembly and Senate raised specific concerns with the universal background check bill. They argue it impedes Second Amendment rights by requiring buyers to register their weapon with the government after the sale.
They have also expressed concerns that the red flag law would violate due process rights.
However, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, issued a statement calling the governor’s proposal misleading.
“With the release of his proposed legislation today, Gov. Evers is giving the people of Wisconsin the impression that somehow, expanded background checks would have a dramatic impact on gun violence here in Wisconsin,” Steineke said. “Simply put, it is disingenuous to suggest that requiring background checks on private sales would have prevented the tragedies we’ve seen as a state and nation.”
Steineke said Republicans remain committed to “providing and expanding mental health resources to those in need – which has time and again been a root cause of many of these shootings.”
Evers called on all lawmakers to take public positions on the bills. He said Republicans who choose not to support them “do it at their own risk at the polls.”
Evers, Democratic Lawmakers Unveil Universal Background Check Bill was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
More about the Gun Violence
- Wis. Republicans Once Backed Gun Control - Robin Bravender - Aug 30th, 2019
- Sen. Taylor and Mothers Against Gun Violence Partner to Educate during National Life Insurance Month - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Aug 29th, 2019
- Celebrating the Life of Quanita ‘Tay’ Jackson - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Aug 26th, 2019
- Shooting takes a positive agent for change in the community - Ald. Khalif Rainey - Aug 26th, 2019
- Op Ed: Congress Must Take on Gun Industry - Ray Dall’Osto and Chris Strohbehn - Aug 23rd, 2019
- Alderman Urges Gun Control After Attack - Alana Watson - Aug 22nd, 2019
- Gunfire too common and too close for comfort – time for action on firearms - Ald. Cavalier “Chevy” Johnson - Aug 21st, 2019
- Op Ed: Gun Control Has Wide Support - State Sen. Jeff Smith - Aug 19th, 2019
- Op Ed: State Needs Republican Leadership on Guns - Gregory Humphrey - Aug 16th, 2019
- Rep. Gordon Hintz: Statement on Universal Background Checks - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 15th, 2019
- Evers, Democrats Unveil Background Checks Bill - Laurel White - Aug 15th, 2019
- The Time for Universal Background Checks is Now - State Sen. Jon Erpenbach - Aug 15th, 2019
- Hesselbein Supports Common Sense Background Checks - State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein - Aug 15th, 2019
- Representative Lisa Subeck Joins Governor Evers, Democratic Colleagues Introducing Universal Background Check Legislation - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Aug 15th, 2019
- Wisconsin Democrats Announce Universal Background Checks Bill, Call on Republicans to Act - Gov. Tony Evers - Aug 15th, 2019
- “I Don’t Have the Answer” to Mass Shootings - Laurel White - Aug 14th, 2019
- Survivor of Gun Violence Opposes the Death Penalty - Erik Gunn - Aug 10th, 2019
- Dem Lawmakers Push Bill to Tax Guns - Erik Gunn - Aug 9th, 2019
- Rep. Robyn Vining Echoes Call to Action Against Gun Violence - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Aug 8th, 2019
- Rep. Anderson Introduces Legislation to Create a Statewide Fund for Victims of Gun Violence - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Aug 7th, 2019
- State Leaders Divided Over Gun Laws - Laurel White - Aug 7th, 2019
- Rep. Hintz: Statement on Gun Violence Prevention - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Aug 6th, 2019
- Murphy’s Law: About Those Good Guys With a Gun - Bruce Murphy - Jul 30th, 2019
- Representative Subeck Introduces “Safe Storage for Gun Safety” Package to Curb Gun Violence and Accidental Shootings - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Jul 26th, 2019
- Rep. Robyn Vining Supports “Wear Orange” for Gun Violence Prevention - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Jun 7th, 2019
- Rep. Zamarripa Statement on Wear Orange Weekend - State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa - Jun 7th, 2019
- Op Ed: Suicides Up Since Gun Waiting Period Ended - Chris Walker - Apr 21st, 2019
- Representative Lisa Subeck Praises Federal Background Check Expansion Act Introduction - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Jan 9th, 2019
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce Background Check Expansion Act To Reduce Gun Violence - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Jan 9th, 2019
- Senator Larson & Representative Bowen: Call on Gun Manufacturers to Prioritize “Smart Gun” Technology and Other Gun Safety Measures in Order to Reduce Gun Violence - State Sen. Chris Larson - Sep 13th, 2018
- School Safety Grant Program Avoids Larger Issues of Gun Violence - State Sen. Chris Larson - Jul 24th, 2018
- Most School Shooters Get Their Guns at Home - State Rep. Terese Berceau - May 22nd, 2018
- Governor Walker Orders Flags to Half-Staff Following Tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas - Gov. Scott Walker - May 18th, 2018
- Bryce Releases Statement on Santa Fe High School Shooting - Randy Bryce - May 18th, 2018
- Why Student Activists Did 50 Mile March - Will Kenneally - Apr 20th, 2018
- Roys Marks 19th Anniversary of Columbine Shooting - Kelda Roys - Apr 20th, 2018
- Marchers Seek Gun Control - Margaret Cannon - Apr 5th, 2018
- Giffords Endorses Rebecca Dallet for Wisconsin Supreme Court Against Gun Lobby Backed Candidate - Rebecca Dallet - Mar 30th, 2018
- Mayor Tom Barrett Applauds Passage of Bill Prohibiting Straw Purchasing - Mayor Tom Barrett - Mar 28th, 2018
- Governor Walker Signs $100 Million School Safety Plan into Law - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 26th, 2018
- Republicans Again Did Nothing to Address Gun Violence - State Sen. Chris Larson - Mar 20th, 2018
- School safety package is rushed, needs significant fixes - State Rep. David Bowen - Mar 20th, 2018
- Tom Palzewicz Releases Comprehensive Gun Safety Reform Plan - Tom Palzewicz - Mar 20th, 2018
- Dana Wachs Responds to Gov. Walker’s Short-Sighted School Safety Plan - State Rep. Dana Wachs - Mar 15th, 2018
- Gov. Walker fails to act on gun safety - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Mar 15th, 2018
- No Child Should Ever Feel Unsafe in School: Governor Walker Calls $100 million Special Session on School Safety - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 15th, 2018
- I stand with our children - Ald. Chantia Lewis - Mar 14th, 2018
- National Walkout Day: I Sit in Solidarity with Students - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Mar 14th, 2018
- Youth Council measure urges support of National School Walkout Day and March for Our Lives - City of Milwaukee Youth Council - Mar 13th, 2018
- Mayor Tom Barrett, City Leaders Call For Gun Safety from Children - Mayor Tom Barrett - Mar 12th, 2018
- The State of Politics: School Safety Bill Renews Gun Debate - Steven Walters - Mar 12th, 2018
- The Intersection of Guns and Race - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Mar 8th, 2018
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Cosponsors Critical School Safety Legislation - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Mar 6th, 2018
- Representative Subeck Statement on Governor’s Comments on School Safety - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Mar 1st, 2018
- Roys calls on Walker to pass common sense gun reform during proposed special session on gun violence - Kelda Roys - Mar 1st, 2018
- Op Ed: Thoughtful Discussion Needed on Guns - Kyle Hagge - Mar 1st, 2018
- Guns, Grief and Grace - Elizabeth Baker - Feb 28th, 2018
- The time for action on gun violence is now - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Feb 28th, 2018
- The Contrarian: The Real “Gun Nuts” - George Mitchell - Feb 26th, 2018
- Did Michael Screnock Promise the NRA He Supports More Guns in Schools? - One Wisconsin Now - Feb 23rd, 2018
- Universal Background Checks Fail on Party Line in WI State Assembly - State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff - Feb 21st, 2018
- Bryce Calls on Speaker Ryan to Meet with Students from his District - Randy Bryce - Feb 21st, 2018
- Republicans block school shooting precautions - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Feb 20th, 2018
- Passage of Senate Bill 408 - State Sen. Chris Larson - Feb 20th, 2018
- Republican Bill Would Put Guns in Wisconsin Schools - One Wisconsin Now - Feb 19th, 2018
- Speaker Ryan Chooses Campaign Donors Over South Florida Teacher - Randy Bryce - Feb 17th, 2018
- Dana Wachs Calls for an Overhaul of Assault Weapon Laws and Other Measures to Fight Domestic Terrorism - State Rep. Dana Wachs - Feb 16th, 2018
- GOP Chair of State Assembly Committee on Education, School Principal Shares Article Romanticizing Guns in Schools in Aftermath of Florida Mass School Shooting - One Wisconsin Now - Feb 16th, 2018
- Data Wonk: The More Guns, Less Crime Scam - Bruce Thompson - Oct 18th, 2017
- Op Ed: 5 Ways to Reduce Gun Deaths - Patrick Dunphy - Oct 16th, 2017