Gov. Evers considers special session and mandatory buybacks on assault weapons

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MADISON (WKOW) — Gov. Tony Evers is sending a message to Republican leadership: if they don’t act on gun reform legislation he’ll call a special legislative session to take up the issue. 

The gun debate was again front and center at the capitol. This time the spotlight fell on a proposal for extreme risk protection orders, also known as “red flag laws.” It would allow law enforcement and family members to take guns from someone a judge agrees is a threat to themselves or others. 

“This would save lives,” said Gov. Evers at a press conference. “My God, why would we be against saving lives?”  

Just a month ago, a bill was introduced by Democrats for universal background checks. But both proposals face strong opposition from Republican leadership. 

“It’s widely known that we believe this legislation poses threats to due process and the 2nd amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzerald (R-Juneau) in a joint statement.

Gov. Evers said if Republicans don’t act he’d consider calling for a special session.

When asked, he also said he’d consider mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons, the same proposal presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke supports. 

“I would consider it, but my focus is on these two bills,” said Evers. “We have to focus on what we can accomplish and we can accomplish those two things.”

Republican leadership called Evers’ response “unacceptable.”

“Evers revealed Democrats’ real agenda: taking away firearms that are lawfully owned, which is unacceptable….considering confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens, it shows just how radical Democrats have become,” said Vos and Fitzgerald.

The governor’s decision on whether or not to call a special session would likely be for show because he cannot force Republicans to hold committee hearings or call the proposals for a vote.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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