Ending Gun Violence

“This mom is having no more thoughts and prayers. I demand action. I will continue to stand up to the NRA and do what’s right so our kids can go to school without being shot to death or fearing it.”

End the NRA’s stranglehold on our politics. The gun manufacturers’ lobby has spent millions backing Republican politicians in Wisconsin. I have never taken a penny from them and I never would. I urge all recipients of NRA money to donate it to organizations supporting responsible gun ownership laws or those supporting victims of gun violence.

Address gun violence as the public health emergency it is. The vast majority of Wisconsinites and Americans – gun owners and non-gun owners alike –  support common-sense reforms because we all want our kids to be safe in school and in our communities. Wisconsin’s hunters and sportsmen and women know that gun ownership comes with responsibility, and that includes basic laws like background checks. We must address the rising epidemic of gun violence, including mass shootings, by keeping guns out of dangerous hands.

I support common sense gun reform for public safety. Among the many proposals I support to reduce gun violence are:

•Buyers: Require universal background checks for all gun sales, closing the private party and gun show loopholes. Prohibit people on the terrorist watch list from buying weapons. Prohibit anyone convicted of a violent crime, including a domestic violence misdemeanor, from possessing firearms.  Allow “Red Flag” laws so family members or law enforcement could petition a judge to temporarily suspend someone’s gun buying privileges if he is a danger to himself or others.

•Sales: Reinstate Wisconsin’s 48 hour waiting period, especially important for preventing domestic violence and suicides. Raise the age of purchase for guns to 21. Limit the number of firearms that can be purchased at once and within a month. Require gun dealers to secure all weapons prior to sale.

•Weapons: Ban assault weapons as well as high capacity magazines, bump stocks, silencers, armor-piercing bullets, and other equipment that makes mass shooting easier.

Enforcement: We should also consider ending state preemption of local gun laws, banning replica guns, restricting the movement of weapons across state lines, and building a law enforcement database to allow for tracing weapons.

No guns in schools. I oppose arming teachers and increasing the presence of other armed guards or firearms in schools. Children should be free to learn without gun violence or the presence of guns – they should be free from the fear of violence too. We should not turn our schools into prison-like atmospheres, with locked doors and metal detectors and armed personnel.

Expand access to health care, including mental health care, to better help people who might harm others or themselves. While people struggling with mental illness are not likely to be mass shooters, and are in fact more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, every person deserves mental health care and this can help our communities be safer. It should not be easier to obtain an assault weapon than a doctor’s appointment.

Implement and fund effective violence prevention and reduction strategies, so we can change our culture that too often equates violence with strength.

Stop pretending gun reform is about hunters and sportsmen. Wisconsin has a great tradition of hunting and sportsmanship that is part of our heritage. That has nothing to do with whether we should pass responsible gun reforms to keep dangerous weapons out of the wrong hands. Every responsible gun owner knows that having a weapon comes with responsibility, and that’s why the vast majority of them support common sense measures to improve safety. I grew up with firearms: my dad carried a gun as a law enforcement officer and his service weapon was in our home. My stepdad and many family members are hunters. That has nothing to do with whether or not a dangerous or disturbed person can get unlimited weapons and ammunition at any time with no checks or regulation.