Wisconsin Republicans Reject Governor's Political Theater

There’s virtually no chance of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ pet gun control policies becoming law this year, yet the grandstanding governor announced this week that he’s calling a special session of the legislature to consider “red flag” language and universal background checks. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he’s not interested in a starring role in the governor’s political theater, and plans to adjourn the special session as quickly as possible.


Scott Fitzgerald, speaking to reporters in the Capitol, said there was no point in debating or holding hearings on the universal background check and “red flag” bills because Republicans who hold a 19-14 majority aren’t interested in passing them.

“The support’s not there to tackle these two issues,” Fitzgerald said.

Evers on Monday called the special session, which forces the Legislature to at least formally meet to consider the bills. However, the Legislature is not required to take any action and the Republican leaders made clear Tuesday that they had no intention of voting on the bills.

Good for Senator Fitzgerald for rejecting the governor’s attempt to play politics with public safety in the state.

Fitzgerald have said Republicans are concerned that the bills would infringe on Second Amendment rights. Fitzgerald said Tuesday that he was concerned that universal background checks could lead to federal law enforcement officers “trying to figure out how many guns somebody did have if they were rejected based on a background check.”

Fitzgerald was asked if a public hearing could flesh out concerns he had with the bills. While he said there could be some “back and forth” during a public hearing, it wouldn’t be necessary to hold one for that to happen.

Fitzgerald also said he was “unaware” of any other alternative bills in the Legislature that Republicans may take up to combat gun violence.


First off, a legislative session is unlikely to flesh out any concerns over the bills. It’s much more likely to lead to name calling and finger pointing. But I’m disappointed that Senator Fitzgerald didn’t have any alternative bills to talk about. Whether we like it or not, we’re living in a “do something” moment when it comes to violent crime and mass shootings. If politicians don’t think these gun control laws are the answer, they need to have something to offer up that’s better, in terms of both effectiveness and constitutionality.

I spoke a little about what can be done in my conversation with Wisconsin resident Aaargo Jay on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. He mentioned that he’d reached out to Governor Evers’ office, but never heard back. I think that was a mistake on the part of the governor, and if I were Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald, I’d be making that call to Aaargo Jay tonight. There are things that can be done to tackle the gang-related violence in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin, and they don’t involve infringing on anybody’s rights or passing any new gun control laws. Don’t let this be a debate about “doing something” or “doing nothing”. Make it a debate about “doing something” versus “doing something that works.”


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