ONEIDA COUNTY - Following a summer filled with gun violence including deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin are taking steps to end the epidemic.
Gov. Tony Evers introduced a "red flag" proposal
Thursday but Republicans in the state legislature don't see that bill as a viable solution.
A recent Marquette University Law Poll found that 81% of people in Wisconsin would support a Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) like that proposed in the new legislation. Oneida Co. lawmakers and law enforcement officials say the people they represent are not among that majority.
"It's way past time to get something done and do what's right for the people of our state," said Evers. "Each and every day elected officials choose not to take gun violence seriously."
The proposed law would establish an ERPO, giving the family members of "at-risk individuals" and police the power to petition a judge to separate gun owners from their firearms.
Evers said the issue wasn't just about mass shootings, but also personal safety.
"In a state where nearly three of four gun deaths are suicide having an ERPO process could be an important tool," said Evers.
One local law enforcement official said police already have the tools they need to combat gun violence.
"We already have laws on the books that can protect against someone that the family's thinking that they're going to commit a crime ... they already can come here and report that and we can take appropriate action," said Oneida Co. Sheriff Grady Hartman.
In a tweet, Republican State Sen. Tom Tiffany of Minocqua said "Under my watch, @GovEvers' radical gun confiscation dreams will never become reality."
Last month, Evers introduced universal background check legislation that many Republicans also did not support.
Evers said he'll also consider mandatory assault weapon buybacks, a proposal popular with Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of Texas.