Milwaukee mayor thinks he can get gun control passed in WI

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Bipartisanship is a fairly rare thing in this day and age. It’s not always a good thing when it does happen, such as last summer’s gun control bill, but it can be.


In Milwaukee, the mayor there recently reached across the political aisle and got Republican lawmakers to work with him on an important mission, funding his city.

That was pretty important for the city.

Now the mayor thinks that since he pulled that off, he can pull something else off.

Now that Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has strengthened relationships in Madison and helped pass a local government funding deal, he’s looking for another big policy push at the statehouse.

His next priority? Enacting stronger gun control laws.

So far in his first term as mayor, Johnson has built connections with Republicans who control the state Legislature with a focus on boosting funding for the city in order to avoid deep service cuts. That came to fruition late last month with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ signing of the new state law and earlier this week with the Milwaukee Common Council’s passage of a new 2% city sales tax.

“I get all the text messages, and phone calls, all throughout the day, all throughout the night about people who’ve been shot, people who have been killed and most of that happens by firearms,” he said. “Yet we don’t control gun laws.”

Democrats in the state Legislature introduced a package of gun control bills in June that they described as “common-sense” legislation, though the bills have not advanced in the face of Republican opposition.

So basically, Johnson figures that since he worked with Republicans to get one bit of legislation passed and developed some decent relationships in the process, he can leverage those into passing gun control.



Sorry, but no.

See, a case can be made that working with Milwaukee to get the city funded is within the realm of Republican politics. Their voters aren’t likely to blow their lid over that.

Opposition to gun control, on the other hand, is a plank in the Republican Party platform. They’re not exactly going to trip over themselves to pass it just because this mayor that they worked with on something completely unrelated asks them nicely.

It’s just not happening.

Not like that, anyway.

Look, I get Republicans can sometimes support gun control–see the aforementioned Bipartisan Safer Communities Act as an example–but it’s not going to be because some mayor who can’t really help them with much of anything asks them really nicely.

Even if the relationships Johnson is touting are really that great, they’re not that great, if you catch my meaning.

What Johnson should probably start doing is looking at his new funding, figuring out how to manage his city’s finances well, and then using anything left over to start programs that help address the roots of violent crime in Milwaukee.

That’ll do a lot more good and it won’t take convincing Republicans to vote against their own beliefs and interests.

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