When Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called lawmakers into a special session to vote on gun control bills like a “red flag” law and a universal background bill, Republican legislators said the GOP-controlled chambers would simply gavel in the session as required by law, but would adjourn without taking any votes on the gun control measures. That’s exactly what happened in Madison Thursday afternoon, despite protests by anti-gun activists in the legislative galleries.
Democrats tried their best to goad Republicans into taking the votes, pointing to Virginia and this week’s election results, warning Republicans that if they didn’t pass the bills today, they’d face electoral consequences next year.
Gov. Tony Evers has said they are ignoring the will of the people and will face blowback from voters at the next election. He cited polls showing broad support for both ideas.
“If you refuse the people of this state a vote on these proposals, you are once again denying the will of the people, circumventing the democratic process, and refusing to do your jobs as elected officials,” Evers wrote in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald on Thursday morning before the session began.
Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said Republicans should vote or risk losing power as the GOP did in an election this week in Virginia, where gun violence was a major campaign issue.
“Failing to act on basic public safety measures is accepting there is nothing we can do to make our communities safer,” Hintz said. “We cannot sit back and do nothing. We have a responsibility to act. … The issue’s not going away. We shouldn’t have to wait for the next mass shooting to get more attention on it.”