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Wisconsin Democrats renew push for background checks, waiting period on gun sales

A handful of Wisconsin State Democrats held a press conference Wednesday morning, introducing legislation condemning the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.

That shooting, which killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others, has sparked dialogue nationwide over gun control. 


"This new normal cannot continue," said State Representative Melissa Sargent. "We are here to request hearings from our legislative colleagues right here in Wisconsin on common sense gun safety reform bills." 

Sargent and her colleagues are asking for two proposed pieces of legislation, AB 65 and AB 47, to receive hearings at the state capitol.

AB 65 would require background checks for all firearm purchases in Wisconsin, while AB 47 would require a 48-hour waiting period for new handgun purchases. Both bills have been introduced in the past, but have never made it to the assembly floor. 

"We want a hearing," said Rep. Terese Berceau. "We are tired of being in perpetual mourning over having a government that cares about the profits of the gun industry over our lives." 

Earlier this week, a White House spokesperson said this was a time for mourning, not for political dialogue. Wisconsin democrats disagree.

"Mr. President, you are wrong," said Rep. Chris Taylor. "Now is the time to have this discussion, and the sad fact is, it's actually too late." 

State democrats admit neither bill could have directly prevented the Las Vegas shooting. The gunman passed multiple background checks, according to Two Nevada gun shops. He also planned the shooting for multiple weeks, purchasing his stash of weapons over many years, meaning the 48-hour waiting period would have done little. 

State Rep. David Bowen says this legislation is more focused on stopping future shootings.

"What we're really talking about is violence prevention, and there is a way of making sure guns end up in the hands of people who will be responsible," he said. 

Waukesha county gun rights advocate Nik Clark says the political discussion is pointless until we know the Las Vegas shooter's motive. 

"To use this as an opportunity to call for gun control or to expand gun rights I think it's inappropriate," he said. "It's unfortunate that every time one of these situations happens, the political leverage is taken immediately before we understand what happens." 

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