Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 7, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Talk about tone deaf.
Gov. Tony Evers demands the state Legislature convene a special session at 2 p.m. this afternoon to take up gun-restriction bills — just 16 days before the start of Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season.
The annual hunting season is a Wisconsin tradition older than the Brandy Old-Fashioned, and cherished by families throughout the Badger State.
The hunt, as should be abundantly clear, involves the use of guns. Unlike many of his predecessors, the governor isn’t what you would call a gun guy. He’s definitely not a deer-hunting guy.
The Madison Democrat is more at home playing pickle ball at the Governor’s Mansion and pushing gun-control policies than he is in a tree stand or tracking whitetail tracks through a snow-covered woods. You’ll find plenty of photos of former Govs. Scott Walker, Scott McCallum, and Tommy Thompson, as well as former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch decked out in blaze orange or camo on the hunt. Evers is more of a tweed sport coat fellow with an eye for regulatory code.
Evers wants the Legislature to move legislation on universal background checks and a so-called “red flag” bill that would give judges and relatives of individuals perceived to be threats increased power to take away guns.
Last month, Evers told reporters he would consider mandatory government “buybacks” of assault weapons, a la the proposal called for by failed Democrat presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. A government “buyback” is a strange characterization of a what it really is: government seizures.
That kind of legislation feels like an assault on the Second Amendment and gun rights to a lot of hunters, some of whom use semi-automatic weapons on the hunt. Restrictionists have attempted to apply the moniker of “assault weapon” on just about anything that fires. While liberals like Evers insist that weapons bans and background checks aren’t designed to go after the average hunter’s guns, guns-rights activists have good reason to be concerned about the slippery slope of expanded government control.
Evers may not be into tracking deer, but he and his liberal advisers are political animals. The governor wants the political show a gun-control floor debate would create. Republican leadership isn’t biting.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) have said they are not interested in taking up legislation that restricts gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Wisconsin’s sporting heritage should be celebrated – and has been by leaders in our state for years. Sadly this year, I’m hearing from hunters all over southeastern Wisconsin that they’re afraid of what Tony Evers is up to just two weeks ahead of deer season. We weren’t elected to take away Second Amendment rights and I don’t plan on starting now,” Fitzgerald told Empower Wisconsin in an email statement.
Fitzgerald on Tuesday said Republicans expect to gavel in and gavel out without taking up any of the Democrats’ proposals. Dems worry the GOP majority won’t give them the show they’re looking for.