Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 15, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers and his liberal allies have repeatedly pointed to a Marquette University Law School Poll that showed 80 percent of Wisconsin voters support more gun-restriction laws.
Evers and the pollsters apparently haven’t been to the 24th Senate District.
The vast majority of voters in the district represented by Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) say they are opposed to the Democrats’ gun-control measures, at least according to hundreds of citizen communications Testin’s office received over a three-week period.
In fact, opposition to expanded universal background checks and so-called red flag laws in the 24th runs completely opposite to the polling numbers Evers loves to quote.
About 81 percent urged Testin to vote against the bills, according to constituent contacts received between Oct. 22 and Nov. 11. The information was obtained by Empower Wisconsin through an open records request.
“I am urging you in the strongest possible terms to vote NO to both of the proposed bills,” wrote one Testin constituent, expressing his doubt about the Marquette poll numbers. “I do not believe either one will make any difference in reducing ‘gun violence’ and I further do not believe that either bill has anything even approaching 80% support. I think both of these bills are part of a ‘slippery slope’ and are serious government overreach.”
Scores of citizens signed a form letter from gun-rights activists demanding Testin “Please oppose Gov. Evers’ Efforts to Violate Due Process & Second Amendment Rights.”
To be sure, several constituents filed more than one opposition comment with Testin’s office. But hundreds registered their opposition to the recent Evers-ordered special legislative session on the gun-control measures.
It’s not just Testin’s constituents. Other conservative lawmakers reported constituent support for gun control below 40 percent, and support for a red flag bill at 20 percent.
Evers has pounded the 80-percent claim for weeks. Republican leadership said they had no intention of giving the governor his gun show. They didn’t.
Testin did receive an eyeful from constituents who support the legislation, but their ranks were small by comparison. Many signed form letters from gun-control advocates demanding Testin “respect the will of the people.”
Testin said he respects the will of his constituents, the vast majority of whom are strong supporters and defenders of the Second Amendment.
“Since Gov. Evers took office and said he was open to universal background checks, red flag laws, even to the so-called government buybacks of guns, our office has been flooded with contacts from constituents who have major concerns about what’s being proposed,” Testin said.
The concern from the letters Testin received is palpable.
“I am a disabled veteran who served my country with honor. I see states such as California expanding the red flag laws which I feel take way constitution (Sic) due process rights. I firmly believe that the 2nd amendment was included in the constitution to prevent illegally taking of ones right to bear arms,” one constituent wrote.