Evers, Wisconsin Democrats introduce red flag gun bill

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Democratic lawmakers are introducing a “red flag” bill that would allow judges to seize guns from someone determined to be a threat.

Evers unveiled the proposal Thursday. It comes after the governor and fellow Democrats introduced a universal background check bill in August. The proposals come in the wake of several mass shootings across the country.

“The consequences of inaction are too high, folks,” Evers said. “Today, I’m once again calling on Republicans and the Legislature to set politics aside and get to work on addressing gun violence in Wisconsin.”

“This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue,” state Sen. Lena Taylor said. “It’s a human life issue.”

A year after a workplace shooting in Middleton, WI democrats are introducing extreme risk protection order legislation that would allow judges to seize guns from those deemed at risk. @WISCTV_News3 #news3now pic.twitter.com/j6A14raa4X

— Madalyn O’Neill (@news3madalyn) September 19, 2019

The bills have virtually no chance of clearing the Republican-controlled Legislature. The GOP has long insisted that restricting access to guns won’t stop mass shootings and would infringe on Second Amendment rights. They say the answer is focusing on mental health.

Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos issued a joint statement following Evers’ news conference saying Evers revealed Democrats’ real agenda: taking away guns that are lawfully owned. They called the idea unacceptable and said it shows how radical Democrats have become.

“It’s widely known that we believe this legislation poses threats to due process and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Fitzgerald and Vos said in the statement.

“I’m very concerned about people having their weapons confiscated unjustly,” Rep. Barbara Dittrich said. “However, I would rather see somebody get the mental health treatment they need.”

Evers has floated calling a special session on the bills, but the move would be mostly symbolic. He can’t force Republicans to take up the proposals.

Evers says he would consider mandatory buybacks for assault weapons.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has been pushing for mandatory buybacks on the campaign trail. Republicans have balked at the idea.

Asked if he supports mandatory buybacks during a news conference Thursday to introduce the red flag bill, Evers said he would consider the idea. He didn’t elaborate, saying he was focused on trying to get the red flag bill and a universal background check bill that Democrats introduced last month passed.

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