Evers calls special session on gun control; Republicans say bills attack 2nd Amendment rights

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature are not interested in gun control measures that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is urging them to consider during a special session next month.

Surrounded by Democratic state lawmakers and gun control advocates, Evers signed an executive order Monday morning in Milwaukee calling for a special session for the Legislature to take up the bills Nov. 7.

“We need an up-or-down vote. We need to have these legislators behind me have the opportunity to vote, ‘Yes, we do need this.’ And we need to have the opportunity for those Republicans that don’t want this to vote no and then go back to them through their constituents locally and say, ‘Yeah, I voted no even though 80 percent of you want me to (vote) yes,'” Evers explained.

A Marquette Law School poll from September showed 80 percent of the respondents support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.

Republican legislative leaders say they view the proposals as an infringement on Second Amendment gun ownership rights and won’t take them up. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald have long been against the bills.

One would institute universal background checks for gun purchases and another would institute a “red flag” law, allowing a judge to take away guns from a person determined to be a threat.

Fitzgerald said in a statement, in part, “it’s easy to see how today’s action could just be the first attack on the Second Amendment. The Senate will not be part of a drawn-out strategy to infringe on constitutional rights.”

Evers threatened to keep calling multiple sessions if Republicans refuse to act. But Vos said calls for a special session will not change where he and Assembly Republicans stand on the issue.

“As I have repeatedly said, we will not entertain proposals that infringe on our constitutional rights. Today’s call is another indication that Governor Evers stands ready to confiscate guns in our state,” Vos said in a statement.

While Evers can call the special session, nothing requires the Legislature to actually vote on the bills.

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