Larson Report 

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A Capitol Update from State Senator Chris Larson 

Dear Wisconsin Neighbor,

I hope you and your family are doing well and had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather this past week. It has been a busy few weeks and I have enjoyed meeting with neighbors at our recent "Conversations with Chris" and at neighborhood meetings.

Many of our neighbors have been demanding action to prevent gun violence after the tragic mass shooting at a Florida high school. As our nation's young people stand up and demand meaningful action to prevent further mass violence, there is renewed national attention on our flawed laws that allow for the highest number of per-capita shooting deaths of any developed country. 

The usual talking points that “now is not the time to talk about gun laws” or faulty solutions of putting more guns in tense situations are being summarily disregarded by the public. Still, the powerful gun lobby is fighting back to protect the profits of their true constituency, gun manufacturers. 

For years, leadership at the federal and state levels have rejected common sense gun reforms. Now it is time for us to stand together, regardless of party, to demand action. Read further for ideas to keep our community safe. My colleagues and I have been fighting for common sense gun laws for years and have renewed our push to get them passed. I’ll outline some of those ideas below and I’m interested in hearing from you with your thoughts on what else can be done. 

We also have info on other major breaking news and exciting community activities happening in our community.

In Service, 


Chris Larson 
State Senator
7th District

 The Problem

Each and every one of us has a right to live in a safe and secure community. As headlines report on the latest mass shooting, the fact remains that this kind of mass violence is just a small portion of the gun violence experienced in the United States on a daily basis. According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, 116,255 people a year in the United States are shot with a firearm, of that 35,141 do not survive their injuries. It is unconscionable that we, as a nation and state, continue to ignore the thousands of grieving families and injured survivors by not acting to prevent further tragedy. 

Right here in Wisconsin, a child in our state is killed with a gun about every two weeks. According to the nonprofit organization Kids Forward, over 400 kids in Wisconsin were killed with guns in the 15 year period prior to the release of the report last year. To put this into perspective, guns are the third-leading cause of injury or death for Wisconsin children.

This is unacceptable. And it is preventable.

No one law has, or ever will, prevent all violence. However, there are simple, common sense changes we can make that will save lives and make our communities safer.

We are a nation of laws. As with any consumer product that poses a threat to our neighbors, laws exist and are modified in order to increase safety and security for our loved ones. Our policies around guns should be treated no differently. 

To be clear, a growing majority of us believe we need to address gun violence with stronger, common sense prevention laws. In fact, many Americans believe widely-supported laws, like universal background checks, are already on the books.   

We have the solutions and public support to make our communities safer. But, the gun lobby is solidly entrenched and the National Rifle Association (NRA) has spent years funding anti-reform Republicans. The Republicans need to reject the heavy-handed influence of groups like the NRA and instead listen to and do what is best for our neighbors. Republicans must prove to our neighbors that they are willing to stand up to gun profiteers looking to grab a dollar at any cost, even at the cost of our kids' safety. 

The Good and Bad of 2017-2018 Gun Legislation 

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As we continue the discussion on how best to address the public health crisis of gun violence, it is important to know just where we stand in regards to gun legislation in Wisconsin. Below is a comprehensive list of proposals dealing with guns introduced in the state legislature during the 2017-2018 session. 

The Good: 
Democrats have proposed several common sense gun reforms that would serve to protect our community. Unfortunately, many of these legislative proposals have been blocked by Republican leadership and denied the opportunity to be heard in public hearings. 

  • Senate Bill 34 - No Public Hearing Held
    This bill requires that, with some exceptions, all firearms sales be done through a federally licensed dealer and thus be subject to a background check. The bill exempts background checks for: 1) a sale or transfer to a firearms dealer, to law enforcement, or to a active member of the armed services; 
    2) a sale or transfer of a firearm classified as antique;
    3) a transfer that is by gift, bequest, or inheritance to a family member;
    4) a transfer that is intended to be temporary and that has a purpose that is not illegal. 

  • Senate Bill 17 - No Public Hearing Held
    This bill makes it a felony not only to straw purchase a gun for a felon, but also to make it a felony to intentionally hold a firearm for someone forbidden by law to possess a gun.

  • Assembly Bill 78 - No Public Hearing Held 
    The 48-hour waiting period was created as a cooling-off period to reduce emotionally related, violent gun crimes. Assembly Bill 74 would reinstate this critical life-saving delay to prevent future tragedies.

  • Assembly Bill 428 - No Public Hearing Held
    Assembly Bill 428 would require that an owner of a lost or stolen firearm report the missing gun within 24 hours of discovering the loss or theft. This legislation enables law enforcement to trace guns more effectively and makes the successful prosecution of users of stolen guns more likely.

  • Assembly Bill 429 - No Public Hearing Held 
    This proposal would require that a secure, lockable container or trigger lock be given with every firearm being sold or transferred to the individual receiving the firearm by the seller.

  • Assembly Bill 430 - No Public Hearing Held 
    Safe Storage for Gun Safety Package (which would enact the same requirement if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm lives in the home.)

  • Assembly Bill 431 - No Public Hearing Held
    Assembly Bill 431 would require that a gun owner store firearms in a locked container or have a locking device engaged on the gun if there is a child under the age of 18 living or present in the home.

  • Senate Bill 408 - Passed Assembly and Senate (awaiting Gov. Walker's signature)
    For years, the city of Milwaukee has been pushing legislation to make "straw purchasing" of firearms a criminal offence. Finally the legislature has acted and passed this legislation, which makes it a crime to purchase a gun with the intent to give the weapon to a person legally prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm.

The Bad: 

  • Senate Bill 169/Assembly Bill 247 - Passed Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
    This legislation would repeal the requirement to obtain a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed gun in public, and lower the age to 18 for carrying a concealed weapon. 

  • Assembly Bill 65 - Passed by State Assembly
    This bill started out as the background bill introduced by the Democrats. Eventually, legislative Republicans added an amendment to get rid of the background check legislation. The legislation will now provide grants to schools that provide armed guards.

  • LRB - 0044 - Introduced, but not assigned a committee
    Rep. Jesse Kramer co-sponsorship memo that aims to arm teachers in private schools with firearms as a way to defend themselves and students. The bill would legalize weapons on the grounds of any private, religious, or tribal school in the state.
Take Action


Earlier this week, I along with my Senate Democratic colleagues signed onto a letter to Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald calling for immediate action to address the epidemic of gun violence. In this letter we specifically laid out a list of ideas previously introduced that need to be acted upon at the state level:

  • Revenue limit exemptions for school safety plans (Senate Bill 858)
  • Prohibit the sale, manufacture, transfer, use or possession of 
    bump stocks (Assembly Bill 616)
  • Prohibit individuals convicted of a domestic violence 
    misdemeanor from possessing a firearm (Senate Bill 563)
  • Reinstate the 48 Hour Waiting Period (Assembly Bill 74)
  • Institute Universal Background Checks (Senate Bill 34)

Help us solidify this message by calling Senator Fitzgerald at 608-266-5660 and ask him to take immediate action on real gun reform for Wisconsin.  

In Case You Missed It

Each week, the Larson Report strives to provide up-to-date, in-depth information to you. Between editions, a lot happens in Madison and our Wisconsin communities. I want to make sure you know the most pressing issues facing our neighborhoods across the state. Below are some of the top stories from the past couple of weeks.

  • Assembly Bill 547, widely known as the “Wetland Destruction Bill”, passed on February 15th. This legislation allows for the protective status of almost 100,000 acres of Wisconsin wetlands to be lifted, giving builders the option to fill and destroy these wetlands. Wetlands are critical for water filtration, protection against floods, and they provide essential habitats for state wildlife. Conservationists and environmental experts are in agreement that this bill is detrimental to the long term health of our communities. In fact, the stripping away of protections is so egregious it lead Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Executive George Meyer to say “this is the worst conservation bill that I’ve seen in a generation”. For the rest of 2018, I hope to combat this type of environmental destruction with legislation that focuses on preserving Wisconsin’s shared land and waters. Take a look at this link for more information.

  • Senate Bill 801 has been strongly rejected by state legislators on both sides of the aisle this month. This “alcohol czar” bill was brought to the attention of Wisconsin residents by a plethora of media outlets, and its notoriety can be traced to its absurdity. This piece of legislation would have hindered our locally owned breweries and distilleries attempts at growth and was opposed by small and large breweries alike. As disheartening as it is to watch bad policy being proposed, it’s reassuring to see the effect that strong advocacy and political involvement can have in combating it. Because of the strong opposition to this bill, it appears to have been abandoned by its author. Check out the full story here.

  • Introduction of the "Community Empowerment Act" Representative Jonathan Brostoff and I are co-sponsoring legislation, LRB – 4969, to empower the Milwaukee economy by allowing community members to vote on a sales tax increase anywhere from 0.1% to 0.5%. Counties and municipalities across Wisconsin are struggling from budget shortages due to shrinking revenue sources that have been depended on in the past. These shortfalls are cutting down on the ability for our local government to provide services and resources to their community members. Our current revenue sources are not adequate to maintain the levels of police, fire, and EMS personnel that are being deployed as of now. This community revenue tool would continue to exempt current non-taxable good and services. 

Events in the Community

Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 

Greater Milwaukee Auto Show
Date: February 24th - March 4th
Location: Wisconsin Center
Come see the newest innovations from some of the largest auto brands in the country, right here in Milwaukee! Audi, BMW, Porsche as well as a multitude of other companies will have displays, and the show will also allow for the opportunity to take test drives in these new vehicles. Adult tickets cost $12, senior tickets are $9 and student tickets are $8.

Drop-In Job Help!
Date: March 09, 2018
Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Location: Bay View Library
Need help getting a job online? A job trainer specialist will be available to help you learn how to: complete online job applications, write a resume online, search online job listings, and obtain a free e-mail account.

Shamrock Club of Wisconsin’s 52nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Date: March 10, 2018
Location: Downtown Milwaukee
Time: 12:00 pm
Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Milwaukee with the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin. The parade starts at 12:00 from 3rd and Wisconsin and finishes at Water and Highland. This holiday celebration will have over 140 presentations including floats, celebrities and bands.

OneMKE Intergenerational Brunch
Date: March 10, 2018
Time: 9:30 am- 12:30 pm
Location: Sprecher's Restaruant & Pub
5689 North Bayshore Drive Milwaukee, WI 53217

The OneMKE Intergenerational Brunch brings together culturally diverse professionals across generations to discuss solution-oriented and outcome-based approaches that impact our community, to further the mission of OneMKE while bridging the intergenerational gap. Come for great food, networking, and wisdom to help make Milwaukee a greater place to live and work.

Green Home: ECO Neighborhood Toolkit at Tippecanoe
Date: March 12, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Location: Tippecanoe Library
The ECO Neighborhood Toolkit is a resource guide for neighborhood organizers. It is designed to connect residents with city and non-profit programs and help them drive collective action in their communities. This program is presented by the Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO), which works on implementing eco-initiatives to improve Milwaukee's environment and create jobs while helping to make all of our neighborhoods great places to live and raise a family. Together we can make Milwaukee a world class eco-city on America's Fresh Coast!

23rd Annual Milwaukee Riverkeeper Spring Cleanup
Date: April 21, 2018
Time: 9:00 am - NOON
Come have fun at the 23rd Annual Milwaukee Riverkeeper Spring Cleanup! Registration opens today. Choose from over 60 locations across the Milwaukee River Basin, and be one of our nearly 4,000 volunteers to help us achieve swimmable, fishable rivers. We provide the bags and gloves, and you provide the hands and energy to pick up trash, litter, and the interesting or bizarre pieces of garbage that find their way into our beautiful river system. Join us afterwards at Estabrook Park for our FREE celebration with Rock the Green.