Gun control advocates rally on Capitol steps over bills

Several dozen people are rallying on the steps of the state Capitol in Madison in hopes of persuading Republican lawmakers to vote on two bills restricting firearm ownership.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called a special legislation session on the bills for Thursday afternoon. The measures would mandate universal background checks and allow family members or police to ask judges to temporarily seize guns from people who pose a threat. Republicans who control the Legislature say they won’t even debate the bills.

About 75 people rallied outside the Capitol ahead of the session in sub-freezing temperatures. They held signs that read “#allowthevote” and “Protect Kids Not NRA,” a reference to the National Rifle Association.

Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul warmed up the crowd, saying it’s time for Republicans to act and people have had enough of “political cowardice.”

Thomas Leager of the conservative group Wisconsin Patriots Alliance showed up in a sweatshirt printed with a picture of a revolver. He told a reporter that universal background checks would be unmanageable and police breaking down doors to seize people’s guns would result in more deaths.

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