Not far from brewery, governor had reacted to continued GOP inaction on gun violence
At a press conference Wednesday morning only 2.5 miles from the MolsonCoors Brewery, Gov. Tony Evers was asked what he could do to get Republican lawmakers to address gun violence.
Less than four hours later shortly after 2 p.m., Milwaukee Police would receive a call that there had been shots fired at the iconic brewery.
By day’s end, police confirmed a recently fired brewery employee shot and killed five coworkers before turning the gun on himself. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Wisconsin since a white supremacist killed six people and injured four more before killing himself at the Oak Creek Sikh temple in 2012.
“I know this is breathtaking for some people but we have to have an honest dialogue around gun safety,” Evers said. “It’s a really tricky issue here in Wisconsin.”
In October, Evers called for a special legislative session for debate on possible passage of two bills. Hours before Wednesday’s shooting, he called on lawmakers to again return to debate the bills.
“All I want is a discussion,” said Evers hours before the shooting. “We had two commonsense solutions on the table that they wouldn’t even talk about. That’s the frustration I have about politics these days.”
One would have required universal background checks for all firearm purchases in Wisconsin. The other would establish an Extreme Risk Protection Order process to enable family members or law enforcement officers to temporarily remove firearms from an individual, if a judge finds it to be a danger to themselves or others.
The bills have the support of 80 to 81 percent of Wisconsinites, according to Evers.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, gaveled in the special session and then closed the session with another strike of the gavel 30 seconds later, as seen on this video.
“In recent months we’ve seen liberals across the country run on a platform of support for gun confiscation, and Governor Evers himself has left the door open on backing similar proposals,” said Fitzgerald in a statement following his actions in November. “ I’ve said all along that the Senate would not go along with the governor’s plans for this special session.”
Shortly afterwards, a similar action took place in the Assembly.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said at the time he would not entertain proposals to take away Second Amendment rights or due process.
Evers said the top two Republican leaders refusing to hold a special legislative session in November to even debate the issue “boggles my mind.”
Evers said the public has a right to know where their elected officials stand on gun control and gun safety issues.
“These representatives need to have an opportunity to talk about it (gun violence ) and vote on it,” said Evers Wednesday morning. “Their constituents need to understand where they stand on the issue.”
In a statement following Wednesday’s shooting, Fitzgerald said that “his heart goes out to victims and their families.”