Graham Kilmer
MKE County

November Ballot Could Have Gun Laws Referendum

County proposal to measure support for state ban on semi-automatic weapons.

By - Jul 12th, 2022 10:44 am
Colt AR-15 A3 Tactical Carbine. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Colt AR-15 A3 Tactical Carbine. Photo is in the Public Domain.

The Milwaukee County Board will consider two referendum questions for placement on the November election ballot this fall, including one asking voters if they would support a ban on semi-automatic, military-style firearms.

The proposed referendum is intended to gauge public opinion and inform policy makers – it would not carry the weight of law. It was authored by Supervisor Dyango Zerpa. Another potential advisory referendum the board will consider would gauge public support for marijuana legalization.

Zerpa’s legislation mentions the recent mass shootings at the grocery store in Buffalo, New York that targeted Black Americans and killed 10 people and at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. The killers in both mass shootings were armed with AR-15-style assault rifles. He also references the 2012 mass shooting at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, that left six people dead in the immediate aftermath and a seventh who succumbed to injuries years later.

The resolution states, “While firearms do not have a monopoly on being used to end lives, firearms, particularly semi-automatic military style weapons and those modified to mimic automatic weapons, do ease the ability to murder and slaughter en masse, and excessive ease of firearm acquisition facilitates accidental and intentional gun suicide.” It also includes a statistic from the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, a global health researcher, which states that the U.S. has the eighth highest level of gun violence in a study of 64 other high-income countries.

The resolution quotes from the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that specific firearm restrictions in the district were unconstitutional. Despite this, the resolution includes passages from the opinion, written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, that indicate the court did not see the second amendment as without limitations on what kind of weapons can be carried, and for what purpose. It also states that courts have regularly held that the second amendment does not confer a right to “keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

The question proposed by Zerpa asks whether voters would support the state Legislature banning the “import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semi-automatic ‘military-style’ firearms whose prohibition is allowed under the Wisconsin and United States Constitutions?”

The resolution already has two co-sponsors in Supervisors Juan Miguel Martinez and Ryan Clancy.

2 thoughts on “MKE County: November Ballot Could Have Gun Laws Referendum”

  1. Mingus says:

    Assault rifles are nothing but dangerous macho toys of immature young men and gray haired guys who have delusions of somehow protecting democracy.

  2. kaygeeret says:

    Love the referendum. Go for it.

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