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As Special Session Looms, Will Wisconsin Lawmakers Learn from Virginia Elections?

November 6, 2019

  • June 4, 2019: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam calls a special legislative session on gun violence, urging lawmakers to take action after the Virginia Beach mass shooting.
  • July 9, 2019: Legislative leaders end the special session shortly after it begins.
  • Nov. 5, 2019: Virginia voters flip both houses of the state legislature, replacing NRA-backed candidates with gun sense champions 

On Thursday, at the direction of Gov. Evers, the Wisconsin legislature will convene for a special legislative session on background checks on all gun salesand an Extreme Risk bill.

Already, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has said he plans to adjourn the session without voting or even a debateBut if last night’s Virginia election results are any indication, doing so would carry enormous political risks. In an election year in which gun safety was “front and center,” Virginia voters unseated several lawmakers who have refused to back gun safety measures. 

In Wisconsin —  where polling has shown that four in five voters support background checks and extreme risk laws —  lawmakers were likely watching closely.

“When lawmakers ended Virginia’s special session on gun violence after just 90 minutes, voters were paying close attention,” said Heather Driscoll, a volunteer with Wisconsin Moms Demand Action whose father died by firearm suicide.“Wisconsinites will be closely following our special session, too. If lawmakers refuse to even consider the common-sense policies Gov. Evers has proposed, we’re ready to replace them with leaders who will.”

Along with other gun safety organizations and partners, Wisconsin volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action will be at the statehouse tomorrow as the special session gets under way. Please reach out to request an interview.

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