Wisconsin officials call for action in wake of Texas shooting

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, called on the Legislature to take up gun control legislation in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, shooting left 19 students and two teachers dead.

“We know what kinds of common-sense steps we can be taking in Wisconsin to make our communities safer: Things like keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, universal background checks, prohibiting ghost guns. These are steps that have broad public support,” Kaul said during a news conference Wednesday.

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“What we lack is legislative will,” he said.

Those issues were on the table in 2019 when Gov. Tony Evers called a special session of the Legislature to take up bills that would create universal background checks and “red flag” laws in Wisconsin — the latter would allow judges to remove firearms from people that are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

Republicans gavelled-in and gavelled-out that 2019 session without taking up any bills.

“I will work with any Republican who wants to find common ground, who wants to make progress on gun safety, who wants to pass legislation a majority of Wisconsinites will support,” Evers said in a prepared speech Wednesday.

Republicans floated their own legislation in the wake of the shooting. Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson asked the Senate to take up a bill he authored that would create a clearinghouse for school safety information.

“There’s nothing partisan about this bill whatsoever. It’s just a good idea that could save lives. It was such a good idea, that under the previous administration, they set up that clearinghouse,” Johnson said.

The move was rejected by Democrats on the floor, however.