Wisconsin Democrats call for more gun legislation ahead of state NRA convention
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and Democratic state lawmakers are calling for more action on guns ahead of a firearm conference set to be held in southeastern Wisconsin this weekend.
Supporters of the National Rifle Association (NRA) are set to gather in Brookfield Saturday for the Wisconsin NRA State Conference. Speakers at the event include David A. Keene, former NRA president member of the NRA Board of Directors. Wisconsin State Senator Julian Bradley (WI-28), State Representative Janel Brandtjen (WI-22), and State Representative Rob Brooks (WI-60), are also set to speak as panelists.
Thursday morning, Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, was joined by State Representatives Kalan Haywood (WI-16) and Deb Andraca (WI-23) to call for more action from Republican lawmakers regarding common sense gun laws.
"For them to be here, and to be so close to Milwaukee, with what's happening here in Milwaukee, and to simply not care, it's a complete slap in the face," said Representative Haywood. "You hear me say 'Read the room. Read what's happening.'"
Rep. Haywood referenced the gun violence that has plagued the city. Earlier this week, 14-year-old Tomorrow Brumfield was the city's 100th homicide of 2022 after she was shot and killed near 81st and Villard.
"When I'm talking to young people, when I'm talking to children, they're telling me that they're scared to go to the park in their neighborhood because they feel unsafe," Rep. Haywood said. "They don't know what's going to happen."
Wikler accused Republican gubernatorial candidates Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Michels of not taking the issue seriously. Earlier this week, CBS 58 asked Michels about 'red flag' laws. The protection order would allow loved ones or law enforcement to ask a court to take away someone's firearms if they're a harm to themselves or others. It is one of several gun control proposals being considered by lawmakers. Michels called himself a supporter of the second amendment and said more action needs to be taken regarding mental health.
"We need to focus more on that and identify these mass shooters before they go out and create this travesties that are happening," Michels said. "Bad guys like that, that's the root of the problem. No gun has ever jumped up by itself and shot somebody."
Rep. Andraca says common sense laws can help avoid mass shootings.
"Why don't we have the ability, if we know someone is a threat to other people, to a school, or in the case of gun suicides, they're not in a good place and they're a threat to themselves, why can't we have the ability to simply take the firearm away? To prevent these mass shootings that happen over and over and over again," Rep. Andraca said. "That's the question I would like to see asked."
Wikler says it's the stance of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is that gun owners and non-gun owners can all work together to keep the community safe.
"We can honor people's family traditions, their culture, the sports they enjoy. We can keep ourselves safe and we can keep our schools and communities safe by passing common sense legislation that ensures that the people most likely to commit dangerous crimes with guns don't get those guns," Wikler said. "That's something we can all come together on."
CBS 58 reached out to the NRA, the offices of State Sen. Bradley, State Rep. Brandtjen, State Rep. Brooks and the Kleefisch and Michels campaigns for additional comment.
Kleefisch shared the following statement with CBS 58:
“As a sportsman, I am unashamed to support the the 2nd Amendment and due process. The solution to tragic events isn’t infringing on Wisconsinites’ rights when there are already ways to take firearms from people who are threats. Soft-on-crime judges and DAs need to enforce the laws on the books, and we need bail and sentencing reform to stop bad DAs and judges from letting criminals go. We must also secure our schools by ensuring there are school resource officers, professionals to address student mental health issues, and resources for our teachers, administrators and parents to identify problems before anyone is in danger.”