Dane County Executive Joe Parisi held a press conference Friday following the Valentines Day Parkland shooting and called for Gov. Scott Walker and House Speaker Paul Ryan to take action both on the state and federal governmental levels.
One of the suggestions Parisi called for was to have Walker call a special session to pass stricter gun laws that include an assault weapons ban, a universal background check and bump stock legislation.
“In Wisconsin, there have been many laws that have been introduced that haven’t been acted upon,” Parisi said.
Parisi said laws like these are “minimally invasive” and ones in which most current gun owners agree.
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Following the shooting, many schools increased security and police presence but that is not necessarily something that should happen, Parisi said. The issue at hand, however, is about gun law — not security in schools.
“Do we really want to turn out high schools into fortresses like prisons?” Parisi asked.
The gun regulation issue comes back to money, Parisi said. Many Republican lawmakers receive donations from the National Rifle Association, which influences their decision to have little gun regulation.
Parisi said people in the United States generally agree on some regulation, like background checks, but the NRA takes “reasonable proposals” and frames them to make people believe the government wants to take away guns.
“I grew up in Wisconsin, I’ve hunted, I’ve owned guns, lots of people I know have, but there’s owning a gun and being responsible and knowing what you’re doing with it, and then there’s just making guns available to everyone,” Parisi said.
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Many lawmakers, including President Donald Trump, often bring up mental health as the reason for these shootings, Parisi said. This is just an “excuse” to avoid talking about gun control.
While the country does need to address mental health challenges, Trump’s budget reduces mental health funding, Parisi said.
“There’s no shortage of hypocrisy among elected officials who will use mental illness as an excuse to do nothing about guns while at the same time cutting funding for mental health,” Parisi said.