Here in Wisconsin, guns and hunting are a large part of our traditions and sporting heritage. I grew up shooting guns at my family’s farm. We made our own shotgun shells in my grandpa’s basement. My family, like many families with these traditions, continues to support legislation that improves safety.
I treasure this tradition, and I know what responsible gun ownership looks like. But as responsible gun owners, we also have to recognize that something has gone horribly wrong in the culture around us.
When I first heard about the shooting at Parkland High School, I felt numb. Seventeen brave, promising, caring people are gone from our world. It’s hard to conceive the magnitude of the loss.
In the aftermath, I was unable to reconcile with the fact that once again, our country has allowed young people to die because we are unwilling to take on the gun manufacturing lobby.
Often in the debate about gun safety, we get distracted. We allow the National Rifle Association to frame the debate as a referendum on the Second Amendment and our sporting traditions. This is not the question at hand.
Time and time again, we face these tragedies. Time and time again, the public shows overwhelming support for moderate, common-sense gun control measures. Over 80 percent of the Wisconsin public supports universal background checks and closing loopholes in existing gun control laws. The question isn’t about gun control vs. the Second Amendment — the question is whether we will listen to our young people, take on the NRA and protect each other.
If you’d like to talk about this issue with me further, please join me at my first legislative listening session on March 25 at 2 p.m. at the Dr. John Bryant Center. Everyone is welcome to attend and all perspectives on this issue are welcome.