GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers visited Green Bay to discuss his call for a special session on gun violence measures.
Evers has called on the Legislature to meet in a special session on Nov. 7. Evers calls it "common sense gun safety reform."
"I'm not taking away peoples' guns," said Evers.
CLICK HERE to watch the full news conference.
The Democrat wants state lawmakers to pass a proposal that would require universal background checks for all gun purchases in the state.
He's also calling on the state to create a so-called "Red Flag Law." This would allow family or law enforcement to petition to remove guns from people who have been found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others.
"Three out of four gun deaths in the state of Wisconsin are suicides," says Evers, "so this issue is not only about keeping others safe, but for people to prevent them from harming themselves."
"After calling for these important pieces of legislation, giving the Republicans an opportunity to hear the people of the state and to do the right thing, and ample opportunity and time for them to do so, they failed to act," which is why Evers said he called this special session.
Evers has asked Republicans to work with Democrats on the proposals, noting widespread public support for universal background checks and red flag laws. However, Republican leadership has made it clear they do not support them, saying the legislation infringes on Second Amendment rights.
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says, “A special session call will not change where my Assembly Republican colleagues and I stand on protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of Wisconsin citizens. As I have repeatedly said, we will not entertain proposals that infringe on our constitutional rights. Today’s call is another indication that Governor Evers stands ready to confiscate guns in our state."
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says, "People are sensitive to the idea that we understand why this is such a big issue, but I do believe the governor is truly kind of playing politics with this."
Fitzgerald says he'll call the Senate into session then declare the session ended.
The law says the governor can call a special session, but it doesn't require lawmakers to call a vote.
Gov. Evers said, "He has a responsibility that his Senate vote on this. If they vote it down, that's fine. It's not fine by me, but at least they are on the record. Just to stand up and say, 'We're going to gavel in and gavel out,' that is not what the people of Wisconsin expect out of legislative leadership."