State Needs Republican Leadership on Guns
History is watching. Will Sen. Fitzgerald think beyond elections and consider what’s best for the state?
When having the chance for causal conversations with elected officials, I enjoy hearing how they view the role they serve to their constituents. Should they simply be a mirror of the majority view within their district, and vote according to the winds that blow? Or do they feel, given the responsibility of leadership, they should use facts and data to arrive at educated opinions, and vote accordingly, even if that means standing up for what runs counter to their constituent’s prevailing views?
That series of questions ran through my mind Wednesday while reading the Wisconsin State Journal‘s coverage of how the state legislature, controlled by Republicans, was dealing with gun control issues. The following paragraph rather leaped off the page and just demanded a response.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told reporters after a Wisconsin Manufacturing & Commerce event Tuesday he does not support expanding background checks to private sales, citing concerns over Second Amendment rights and how his Republican constituents would respond.
Lets give credit to Fitzgerald for candor when questioned by a reporter. When stating he gave weight to his Republican constituents, and by inference being leery to wade too far into the ways the legislature could block gun purchases, he underscored why it is so difficult for meaningful gun control bills to make any progress.
What this state needs are some Republicans who care more about facts and data regarding gun violence than they do about every election shadow that might emerge within their district.
Fitzgerald said he’s opposed to background checks and is concerned over the possibility of Wisconsinites having to register their guns.
“There is always going to be a constituency who vote Republican and (expanding background checks) means registering your firearm, and they are going to be opposed to it,” he said.
Even though Fitzgerald knows that a Marquette Law School Poll last year found 80% of voters supported expanded background checks he still uses partisan reasoning to deny that matter from coming to the floor for a vote. Let’s be clear and state no one should be able to buy a gun without passing a background check. But under current law, unlicensed sellers, such as those who peddle guns online, or at gun shows, or anywhere else without a federal dealer’s license, can sell a gun without having to run any background check. That runs counter to the best interests of the citizenry of this state.
Fitzgerald is a smart man, and a keen politician. He knows the data and facts about gun violence. But he feels constrained by partisan guardrails, and in so doing, has lost the meaning to the title of leader.
“It’s frustrating, I think, because every time one of these incidents happens, we kind of wring our hands and say ‘What can we do, what should we do?’” Fitzgerald said. “And we haven’t been able to come up with that yet.”
Reading his comment in the paper concerning an unwillingness to firmly grasp a problem, and apply needed remedies, makes not only the entire legislative process look diminished, but his role in that process appear weak. It is really a very sad comment to read, given the gravity of the gun problem which confronts us all.
I have a romanticized image in my mind of elderly former elected officials sitting with a grandchild who asks what was the thing they were most proud to have done while in office. All in that position would love to respond they were most proud to have been a leader. Someone who took a less-traveled path and found their voice on an issue which then resonated with the citizenry.
There is plenty of room within the GOP caucus for action now on gun issues to ensure that future conversations with grandchildren can be glowing. No one expects a dam of common sense to break open in either legislative chamber, but it would be nice if one Republican were to step forward, hear the concerns of the state, and act accordingly.
History will treat that elected official with respect. And who knows what one reasonable Republican voice could achieve. Someone should give it a try.
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
More about the Gun Violence
- Nothing Changed After Molson Coors Shooting - Allison Stevens - Mar 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Losing Sheila’s Smile - Jeff Spitzer-Resnick - Dec 31st, 2019
- Baldwin Helps Secure Federal Funding to Conduct Gun Violence Research For First Time in More Than 20 Years - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Dec 19th, 2019
- How Gerrymandering Stalls Gun Safety - Robin Bravender - Dec 17th, 2019
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Action on Funding Gun Violence Research at CDC - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Nov 22nd, 2019
- Evers May Call Second Special Session on Guns - Laurel White - Nov 19th, 2019
- Rep. Anderson Addresses Republican Inaction on Gun Reform - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Nov 8th, 2019
- Rep. Considine Reacts to Legislature’s Inaction During Special Session - State Rep. Dave Considine - Nov 8th, 2019
- Republicans Dismiss Governor’s Special Session - Laurel White - Nov 8th, 2019
- Republican Senators, Do Your Job! - State Sen. Tim Carpenter - Nov 8th, 2019
- Republican Inaction on Gun Safety Fails Wisconsin - State Rep. Dianne Hesselbein - Nov 7th, 2019
- Republicans Ignore 80 Percent of Wisconsinites, Majority of Gun Owners, Refuse to Take Up Gun Safety Reform - Gov. Tony Evers - Nov 7th, 2019
- Sen. Fitzgerald Stands Up for Second Amendment, Ends Evers’ Special Session on Gun Control - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Nov 7th, 2019
- Republicans Fail to Prioritize the Safety of Wisconsinites - State Sen. LaTonya Johnson - Nov 7th, 2019
- Every Day of Inaction Is One Day Closer to a Preventable Mass Shooting - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Nov 7th, 2019
- Op Ed: Vos, Fitzgerald Scared of Gun Reforms - Melanie Conklin - Oct 28th, 2019
- Gov. Evers Delivers Democratic Weekly Radio Address Calling for Legislative Action on Gun Safety Reform - Gov. Tony Evers - Oct 24th, 2019
- Campaign Cash: The NRA Brigade - Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - Oct 22nd, 2019
- Sen. Taylor Calls for Focus on Violence Prevention - State Sen. Lena Taylor - Oct 21st, 2019
- Evers Calls Special Session on Guns - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 21st, 2019
- Sen. Fitzgerald Reacts to Gov. Evers Special Session Announcement - Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald - Oct 21st, 2019
- Gov. Evers Signs Executive Order #54 Calling for a Special Session on Legislation to Address Gun Violence - Gov. Tony Evers - Oct 21st, 2019
- Democrats Push Medical Marijuana, Red Flag Law - Laurel White - Oct 7th, 2019
- Municipalities Calling For Mass Violence Reform - Alana Watson - Sep 26th, 2019
- Evers Wants Gun Laws - Shamane Mills - Sep 25th, 2019
- Rep. Anderson in Support of Extreme Risk Protection Orders - State Rep. Jimmy Anderson - Sep 19th, 2019
- Evers Renews Call for Red Flag Gun Law - Laurel White - Sep 19th, 2019
- Republican Inaction Ignores Urgency of Gun Violence Crisis - State Rep. Gordon Hintz - Sep 19th, 2019
- Senator Craig Reacts to Evers’ Statement on Gun Confiscation - State Sen. David Craig - Sep 19th, 2019
- Rep. Robyn Vining Backs Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation - State Rep. Robyn Vining - Sep 19th, 2019
- What Will It Take To Act? - State Sen. Jennifer Shilling - Sep 19th, 2019
- Democrats Announce Extreme Risk Protection Order Legislation to Prevent Suicide and Gun Violence - Gov. Tony Evers - Sep 19th, 2019
- 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