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Republican bills include effort aimed at gun rights, but not gun violence

Posted at 7:21 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 20:31:46-04

MADISON — Republican lawmakers introduced a package of bills in Madison Tuesday, including an effort aimed at gun rights, but not gun violence .

This as the Milwaukee area has seen another uptick in violent crime this year.

The proposed legislation is titled the Wisconsin Sporting Freedom Bill.

A majority of those bills address hunting issues, but one is designed to benefit the state's hundreds of thousands of concealed carry gun owners.

This comes on the same day Gov. Tony Evers announced he wants to invest $45 million in COVID-19 relief money to violence prevention.

Republicans, like Senator Mary Felzkowski from northern Wisconsin, say it's time to change the state's concealed carry law.

"We allow you to open carry," said Sen. Felzkowski. "You can strap an 9 mm pistol in you hip and you can walk down main street. But you can't put a coat on, and we are here to rectify that."

When asked about Milwaukee's gun violence, Felzkowski said that's "a whole other subject," and suggested local policies and police funding needed to be looked at.

Republicans want to eliminate concealed carry permits and bans for carrying firearms in some buildings like bars, but give businesses the option to post no weapons allowed.

"We are giving local control to individual businesses," said Sen. Felzkowski. "If they do not want people openly or concealed carry weapons into any of their business, they have the right to post that."

Republicans have rejected Gov. Evers' efforts to pass a better gun background check and a red flag law that helps identify someone who should not have a weapon.

Evers was in Milwaukee promoting a different solution to the gun violence on Wednesday.

"Violence can be prevented. We have to focus on the root causes and invest in community based solutions," said Evers, who is running for reelection in 2022.

$8 million will go to the Office of Violence Prevention youth and domestic violence programming. $6.6 million to the Medical College of Wisconsin's Violence Prevention Program, and $20 million to victim services statewide.

"This level of investment from the state for violence prevention and victim services has long been needed," said Evers.

He blamed Republican legislators for not acting on proposed violence prevention grants in the past.

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