Evers, Democrats offer gun background check bill

Evers, Democrats offer gun background check bill

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers are proposing an expansion of background checks for gun sales in the state.

.@rep_melissa announces her bill that would require background checks on all gun purchases. @GovEvers and Democratic state lawmakers are calling on Republicans to pass gun reform laws. #news3now pic.twitter.com/YT3gdTe8mO

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) August 15, 2019

“Addressing gun violence doesn’t have to be a false choice between the Second Amendment and keeping our kids and our communities safe, we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and a majority of Wisconsinites agree that no matter what kind of firearm is being purchased, or where it’s being purchased from, the process should be the same,” Evers said.

Republicans who control the Legislature have said they are opposed to such efforts. But Evers and Democrats are pushing it in the wake of two mass shootings earlier this month, saying the public is behind the idea.

“No child or person should have to die by a bullet from the ignorance of politicians,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said.

.@GovEvers addresses the recent shootings in Dayton and El Paso. “Gun violence has seemingly become a foregone conclusion,” Evers says. #news3now pic.twitter.com/rk0VcI779j

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) August 15, 2019

The bill unveiled Thursday would require background checks for handgun purchases with some exceptions. Sales to a firearm dealer, a law enforcement officer or member of the armed services, firearms classified as antiques or a gift or inheritance to a family member would be exempt.

“Everyone. Absolutely everyone. Deserves the freedom to feel safe in their own community,” said Melissa Sargent a Democratic representative for the 48th Assembly District.

Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a $10,000 fine and no more than nine months in prison.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos earlier Thursday said the Legislature was “very unlikely” to take up a universal background check proposal.

.@GovEvers holds a news conference in his Capitol office to talk about gun reform laws. He’s joined by @TheOtherMandela, @WisDOJ, Democratic lawmakers and the chief of @middletonpd. #news3now pic.twitter.com/afOArlpnMw

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) August 15, 2019

Madison Mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, issued a statement in support of the universal background check bill. In her statement, she cited the shooting at Shake the Lake in Madison, which led to a stampede.

“We need to find ways to keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not possess them –
individuals suffering from mental illness and those convicted of serious violent crimes, including
domestic violence – are a common sense first step,” Rhodes-Conway said.

Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, Assembly majority leader, said in a statement Thursday that Evers’ proposal was unfair, saying expanded background checks wouldn’t have a dramatic impact on gun violence in the state.

“Simply put, it is disingenuous to suggest that requiring background checks on private sales would have prevented the tragedies we’ve seen as a state and nation,” Steineke said.

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