Madison mayor calls for ability to enact local gun policies in wake of racially-motivated shooting in Buffalo

MADISON, Wis. — In the wake of the racially-motivated shooting at a grocery store in New York that left 10 people dead, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is calling on state lawmakers to allow cities to enact their own “common-sense gun policies that will help prevent future mass shootings.”

The alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, 18, has been indicted for first-degree murder in the Saturday shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York.

Under Wisconsin state law, “no political subdivision may enact or enforce an ordinance or adopt a resolution that regulates the sale, purchase, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration, or taxation of any knife or any firearm or part of a firearm, including ammunition and reloader components, unless the ordinance or resolution is the same as or similar to, and no more stringent than, a state statute.”

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During a press briefing Thursday, Rhodes-Conway said if lawmakers won’t take action, they should allow local governments to be able to do so.

“If they’re not willing to do it, if our federal government isn’t willing to do it, we should at least be able to do it at the local level,” she said.

A day prior, Rhodes-Conway and leaders of the city council issued a statement decrying the attack:

“As community leaders and community members, we are devastated and angered by the abhorrent, racially motivated hate crime that recently took the lives of 10 innocent Black Americans in Buffalo, NY. Racially motivated acts fueled by the unchecked legacy of white supremacy should have no home in America. Our hearts are with the victims and their families, as well as the entire Buffalo community.

“We are reminded that an attack on any of us – especially those motivated by injustice and hate – is an attack on all of us, and in that realization we must find unity to defeat hate. We must work to eradicate the violent radicalization and systemic racism that continue to destroy so many lives.

“As Mayor and Council leadership, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our community is safe from such acts and free from the hate that motivates them. We also have a responsibility to demand that state leaders remove the prohibition on local gun control legislation to allow us to pass commonsense gun policies that will help prevent future mass shootings.”