Mass Shooting on Independence Day a Horrifying Reminder of How Conservative Politicians View Freedom

On a day meant to reflect on our freedoms, we were once again brutally reminded this week that our freedom to live without the fear of gun violence is sorely lacking.

The mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Illinois occurred just miles from us here in the Badger State, and reports show the gunman stopped in Wisconsin that day.

It was one of at least 314 mass shootings in America so far this year. These terrible acts of gun violence keep inching closer to home for Wisconsinites, and it’s clear that the gun lobby is still working to influence Wisconsin politicians and derail common sense gun safety laws.

Politicians like Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who as of 2019 had received more than $1.2 million in campaign donations and spending on his behalf from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and is still in Washington D.C. opposing measures to keep deadly firearms out of dangerous people’s possession.

Those who have been granted the privilege of governing in our names, whether it be in federal, state or local office, need to put constituents over greed, listen to our voices, and they need to act.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers is advocating for common sense gun safety measures supported by an overwhelming majority of Wisconsin residents.

Recent polling from Marquette University Law School shows that more than 80% of all Wisconsinites, including 78% of households that own guns, support mandatory background checks for all firearm purchases and red flag laws that could allow judges and law enforcement to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves or others.

When Gov. Evers called for a special legislative session to take up common sense proposals, the Republican legislators in charge of the state Senate and Assembly refused to even allow a debate, much less a vote on the bills – making it clear what, exactly, is holding Wisconsin back from living free of the fear of gun violence: it’s MAGA extremists siding with the gun lobby.

In fact, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature this last session didn’t just refuse to debate common sense safety laws, they acted to pass bills that would have made it easier to bring guns to places like schools and churches and put them into the hands of teens.

Thankfully, Gov. Evers swiftly vetoed the bills, preventing them from becoming law in Wisconsin.

Whether its parents, students, and activists showing up to protests, or organizations speaking out against gun lobby interests, the people of Wisconsin have spoken: we want sensible gun safety measures that will save lives.

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A Better Wisconsin Together is a state-based research and communications hub for progressives.