State Senate Democratic Committee
Press Release

Senate Republicans Choose Special Interest Cash Over Public Safety of Wisconsinites

Lawmakers with history of NRA backing refuse to support Gov. Evers call for legislation to address gun violence

By - Oct 22nd, 2019 02:06 pm

MADISON – Yesterday, Gov. Tony Evers called upon the legislature to engage in a legislative Special Session to bring up a vote on legislation to close a dangerous loophole that allows domestic abusers and dangerous felons to purchase firearms without a background check. Almost immediately, the Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald made it clear that Senate Republicans would reject the governor’s call to action and prioritize special interests groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) over the public safety of Wisconsinites.

According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, there are approximately four dozen active Republican legislators who received campaign support from the NRA. From 2018 – 2019, Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) topped the list of Republican benefactors,receiving $12,272 in total support from the NRA. Over the same period, Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Senator Dan Feyen (R- Fond Du Lac) received $5,035 and $2,824 in total support from the NRA respectively.

“The Governor’s Special Session announcement showed that Democrats are committed to answering the call of over 80 percent of Wisconsinites who want action to prevent gun violence in our state and keep our communities safe,” said SSDC Executive Director Katie Iliff. “Doing all we can to improve public safety and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals should be a bipartisan effort. It is shameful that almost immediately after the call for legislative action through a special session, Republican leadership was quick to oppose the wishes of the people. The time is now for Republicans to show political courage on behalf of the people of Wisconsin and stop carrying water for special interest groups like the NRA who help fill their campaign coffers.”

Over two months ago, Democrats rolled out legislation to close a loophole that allows domestic abusers and dangerous felons to purchase firearms without a background check. The legislation is supported by over 80 percent of Wisconsinites, but has failed to receive a single committee hearing.

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