Vos, Fitzgerald Scared of Gun Reforms
Scared bill could threaten reelection of some GOP legislators — and give Evers a win.
It sure appears that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are not so much against the two gun safety bills that Gov. Tony Evers’ ordered a special session to consider.
It’s that they are terrified of those bills.
On Monday, Evers issued an executive order to force the legislature to convene on Nov. 7 for a special session to vote on two gun-safety bills: universal background checks and Extreme Risk Protection Orders, AKA “red flag” legislation, which allows a judge to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Fitzgerald has now pledged publicly that the Senate will not vote on either measure. Not that they would vote no because they believe these are bad bills. He just won’t let any elected legislators, Republican or Democratic, vote. Period.
After signing the executive order in Milwaukee surrounded by supporters, Evers set out to other parts of the state to promote the bills and explain how he believes they will help prevent gun violence.
“Now, I want to be clear: I support the 2nd Amendment, and that’s why I support these bills,” stated Evers Thursday in this week’s Democratic Radio Address.
“The 2nd Amendment isn’t going away — these are commonsense proposals that we know can save lives and that we know 80% of Wisconsinites support. It’s that simple.
“I’ve said all along that the will of the people is the law of the land.
“It’s time for members of the legislature to start listening to the people of our state and get to work on addressing gun violence in Wisconsin.”
Signs of fear
If Fitzgerald, Vos and other Republicans do not approve of universal background checks and red flag laws, that’s fine. They can — and should — vote no.
However, they display their fear of these issues in the responses they give every time Evers or Democrats or reporters or the public bring them up. GOP leaders immediately twist the conversation to assert that Evers actually wants to seize people’s guns against their will. They act as if it’s a slippery slope from a background check for a gun purchase to Evers personally showing up on your doorstep and prying your rifle right out of your hands.
That is not what will happen and they should admit that up front.
But then they would lose. They know that elected Republicans who vote against background checks and red-flag laws might hurt their chances of re-election, even in the districts they have gerrymandered to avoid that outcome.
And one of their big donors — the National Rifle Association — would be incredibly unhappy if the bills were voted on, especially if the bills passed. So the options are: anger the extreme right base and the NRA or anger the vast majority of the public that wants these bills to pass.
Legislators have been dodging gun safety for years. It’s happened in past sessions too, on these and similar bills. They bury them in committees and never bring them forward for even a public hearing.
Apparently their fear extends to even hearing public testimony on the bills.
It may even be one reason why Vos pushed through a recent rule change to stop the minority party from pulling bills straight to the floor. Whichever party is in the minority has always used the votes on those ‘pulling motions’ to debate bills the speaker refuses to bring to the floor. Later they suggest that a vote against pulling a bill is a vote against the substance of that bill. To voters, that doesn’t sound quite as bad as a vote, up or down, on a measure.
Fitzgerald and Vos do not control the pollsters, however, so the Marquette Poll and other public opinion surveys have shown repeatedly—and did so again on Wednesday this week—that 80% of registered Wisconsin voters support universal background checks when purchasing a gun. And the number is even slightly higher on ERPOs.
In fact, a majority of gun owners, Republicans, independents and Democrats support the two bills.
So Republican leaders should come clean with the public and admit they are afraid of having to vote. Fitzgerald and Vos could lose some of their members when what they really want in the next election cycle is a veto-proof majority.
It’s cowardly to use maneuvering to protect elected leaders from their constituents and to avoid upsetting the NRA.
Tough guy Evers
Evers, normally an affable man who opts for reason and compromise, to the point where even some members of his own party are frustrated, is not taking this one sitting down.
He spent months warning the Republican legislative leaders that if they didn’t do something about gun violence, he’d make them. They just rebuffed and ignored him.
So the state tour with the executive order signing and the radio address have made it clear: Evers is cutting out Fitzgerald and Vos and going around them to the public. It’s something Democrats have not been able to do very effectively for eight years when they lacked the bully pulpit of the governor’s office. Evers is putting it back on the people of Wisconsin who want gun safety to act.
“But folks, this is where I need your help,” Evers went on his address, which you can listen to here.
“Members of the legislature shouldn’t be able to ignore 80% of the people of our state, and the rest of us should have the chance to hold them accountable if they do,” said Evers in the radio address.
“Universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders are things we should all be able to agree on.
“So, that’s why I’m asking you to please contact your legislators between now and November 7th and ask them to do their job, give these bills a vote, and let their vote speak for itself.”
One more thing Fitzgerald and Vos are afraid of? Giving Evers a win. They must prevent that, even if the consequences are that the people of Wisconsin lose. And the people of the state are less safe.
Fitzgerald and Vos should trust that their members, and all of the people of Wisconsin, are not so fragile as to need their protection from an up or down vote, or from democracy.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
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