Evers Calls Lawmakers Into Special Session On Guns; Tiffany Bashes Move As ‘Political Stunt’

Oct 21, 2019

Gov. Tony Evers announces a legislative special session, calling for action on gun violence
Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR

Gov. Tony Evers will call lawmakers into a special session to act on gun violence next month, saying it’s needed to save lives.

He announced the move in a swing of stops, including Wausau, on Monday.

“These are common-sense solutions that we know can save lives because they have already done so in states that have adopted them.  It’s that simple,” Evers said in Wausau.  “Two bills that we know, without a doubt, without ambiguity, this is what the majority of the people in the state want.”

One bill would require universal background checks for all gun sales.  The other would put into place red-flag laws, which would allow judges to order guns temporarily taken from a dangerous person.

Evers’ executive order on Monday will call the legislature into session on Nov. 7.

“The consequences of this continued inaction are too high, folks.  That’s why I want to be clear.  I don’t want any political games.  I don’t want any procedural shenanigans.  No circumventing the democratic process.  No last-minute amendments,” he said.

The gun control bills have the support of about 80 percent of Wisconsinites, a Marquette Law School poll found.

At the same time, Evers calls himself a supporter of the Second Amendment.

“The Second Amendment is not going away because of this.  This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment,” he said.  “It’s making sure that people that have a gun, that the universal background check treats everybody the same.”

But the governor has already endured inaction from Republican lawmakers in the majority, and now might face outright opposition from legislators Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua).

“It’s a political stunt by the governor, trying to score points off of these tragedies, and it’s really unfortunate,” Tiffany said.

Sen. Tom Tiffany, who opposes Evers' proposals.
Credit Ben Meyer/WXPR

Tiffany said Republicans have invested in mental health, and he wouldn’t make any changes in state law related to guns.

“That’s what he’s doing, is he’s trying to take people’s guns.  I am going to stand up for freedom.  If that’s what he’s going to call for, I’m not going to support it,” he said.

Evers said on Monday that if Republicans refuse to act, he may simply keep calling them into special session.