Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers thought he’d take a page from Virginia’s Ralph Northam and call for a special legislative session to address gun violence, which in his mind really only means gun control. Like in Virginia, they adjourned without passing gun control. However, it seems they did pass another measure or two meant to address the problem.
It just didn’t coincide with what Evers wanted.
Now, the governor won’t rule out another special session.
Gov. Tony Evers has not ruled out the possibility of calling another special session to discuss gun control in Wisconsin.
In an interview with TMJ4’s Charles Benson, Evers said there’s still a possibility he will call a second special session with Wisconsin legislature to discuss gun control. This news comes less than a week after Republicans ignored his initial special session on gun control.
“It’s still under discussion , but we’ll see. It’s an option for us,” said Evers. “It was clear that gaveling in and out within a minute they [GOP] aren’t going to do anything. I could call it a hundred times just to punish them, but at the end of the day it’s still a possibility.”
In other words, he’s considering calling for special sessions until lawmakers just cave in and give him what he wants.
Sounds kind of childish, if you ask me.
The problem is that no, Republican lawmakers don’t support the proposals Evers is pushing, namely things like red flag laws and universal background checks. Both of those are controversial in Republican circles. Further, while polling suggests broad support for these measures, that polling is often the result of overly-generalized questions that gauge support for nebulous concepts and not actual legislation. Once people see what the laws entail, that support often seems to dwindle.
However, one of the biggest issues surrounding so-called gun violence is suicide. Two-thirds of all firearm-related fatalities nationally are the result of suicide, and the legislature did address that issue specifically.
Further, the idea that addressing the causes that lead to violence is a noble thing isn’t lost on folks in Wisconsin.
To create a solution to a problem, it’s important to understand the core of the problem. But what happens when a solution is designed based on a false understanding of that core?
There is an epidemic in the U.S. of mass shootings, suicide by firearm, and violent crimes committed with firearms, without question. In 2019 alone, there have been at least 21 deadly mass shootings.
There clearly is a problem in the U.S. and many think that there is a gun problem. Across the country, many states have passed legislation, convened special sessions and assembled task forces all aimed at reducing gun violence. Whether it be background checks, Extreme Risk Protection Orders, or a longer cool down period, a majority of legislation has focused on the gun aspect of the problem.
At the same time, these mental health resources need to be properly funded. If a legislature wants to cut off the issue of suicide by firearm, in addition to gun control laws, mental health as a field would need to see an increase in funding. Providing more access to rural mental health care, funding more facilities and professionals such as social workers and therapists, and creating more community resources would ensure that a person thinking of committing suicide has the necessary resources prevent suicide.
Now, I don’t agree with everything in that op-ed. For example, it suggests tying firearm purchases to mental health screens, which I have a significant problem with and I’ll elaborate on another time.
Still, it seems obvious that many in Wisconsin at least are interested in addressing the root causes of these violent occurrences rather than simply focusing on the tools that might be used for ill.
Maybe Evers should give that a try for a change.