Observing Gun Violence Awareness Day with Real Solutions

It almost seems we’ve become numb to the 500 men, women, and children that are killed by guns each year in Wisconsin. Gun violence happens indiscriminately in rural, urban, and suburban places, as well as in Democratic and Republican districts. This violence takes place in the most ordinary, everyday places – movie theaters, college campuses, night clubs, and elementary schools. How many more breaking headlines, unexplainable horrors, and lives lost must our society endure before we truly stand up and fight for common sense gun safety laws that the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites and gun owners support?

With National Gun Violence Awareness Day coming up on June 2nd, Wisconsin residents who refuse to let gun violence and mass shootings become the norm are standing up to bring awareness and proactive measures to ensure the safety of our communities. The Wisconsin Coalition for Gun Safety is standing alongside them.

The Wisconsin Coalition for Gun Safety, along with other constituent organizations, is advocating for legislation at the local, state, and federal levels to reduce gun violence. This Coalition is made up of physician, clergy, law enforcement, social worker, domestic violence, mental health, women’s health and anti-violence groups and legislators. We are looking to balance the rights and responsibilities of gun ownership while enhancing and protecting the safety of the public.

It is ironic that the Permitless Carry Bill, supported solely by Republican legislators, is receiving a public hearing the same week as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. This bill will eliminate the current requirement for training and background checks prior to carrying a concealed weapon, eliminate Wisconsin’s gun-free school zones law, and reduce the minimum age to carry a concealed weapon from 21 years old to 18 years old. It is not surprising that due to this “anything goes” attitude, permitless carry laws are associated with higher rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. An incredible 91% of Wisconsinites support permits, training, and background checks in order to carry concealed firearms. There is rarely that much agreement on any issue! The permit system is popular and it’s effective – since 2011, there have been 6,747 failed background checks and 18,127 permits denied or invalidated.

Instead of pushing legislation that will make Wisconsinites, including law enforcement, kids, and communities, less safe, the Wisconsin Gun Safety Coalition is focused on enacting policy that everyone can agree on – universal background checks and reinstating the 48 hour waiting period for handgun purchases. These policies could make a meaningful difference in keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who shouldn’t have them and reduce suicides and incidents of domestic violence. So, let’s celebrate National Gun Violence Awareness Day by standing up for common sense gun safety legislation and by being vocal opponents to harmful bills such as the Permitless Carry Bill.