Gun Resolution, Authored By Middleton Supervisor, Gains Approval

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MTT News Desk's picture
Matt Geiger
The Dane County Board approved Resolution 206 by a vote of 29-2.

The Dane County Board on Thursday, Jan. 10 approved Resolution 206, calling for President Obama, the United States Congress and the Wisconsin legislature to enact a list of measures intended to curb gun violence.

The board approved the resolution, which was introduced by Supervisor Sharon Corrigan (District 26, Middleton) and co-sponsored by 27 supervisors, by a margin of 29-2.

Supporters said the resolution is part of an effort to counterbalance the National Rifle Association’s political sway. It calls for action to curb access to certain kinds of firearms and to reduce the number of guns in the hands of criminals “in order to decrease the number and impact of mass shootings in the United States.”

Those who voted against it said the non-binding resolution won’t do anything to prevent future tragedies.

Some supervisors abstained from voting, saying state and federal gun laws fall well outside the jurisdiction of the Dane County Board of Supervisors.

“From a grocery store parking lot to a movie theater to a place of worship here in Wisconsin to an elementary school, this crushing string of mass shootings has one thing in common - the wrong kind of guns in the hands of the wrong kinds of people,” said Corrigan. “We can talk about the culture of violence, we can talk about mental health care, we can talk about a wide range of long-term solutions. But the first step is clear - get the assault weapons off the streets.”

The resolution calls on the federal government to “renew and strengthen the federal ban on military-style assault weapons and also ban domestic and imported large capacity ammunition magazines.”

It also urges the state legislature to “ban habitual criminals from obtaining concealed carry permits, make the purchase of a firearm for someone who is prohibited from possessing a firearm a felony, make the possession of a concealed firearm by those prohibited under Wisconsin law a felony, and require that private gun sales be subject to criminal background checks performed by a federally licensed gun dealer.”

Supervisor Dave Ripp (District 29, Springfield) cast one of the two votes against the resolution.

“It’s been tried before, this gun ban stuff,” he said. “It didn’t work, and I don’t think it would work this time around either.”

Ripp said there are other tactics that would be more effective in limiting mass shootings.

“My thought is we need to focus more on mental health, and we need to change the way we see things,” Ripp said. “A lot of these shooters actually warn people they’re going to do it, yet people just ignore them. We need to change that.”

Ripp said he owns a semi-automatic rifle, which he uses to hunt. “Personally, I got it when I was 12 and I’ve hunted with it ever since,” he said.

District 15 Supervisor Ronn Ferrell, who represents the southern half of the Town of Middleton, abstained from voting on the resolution.

“When I ran for office I promised not to vote on things that fall outside the county’s purview,” Ferrell said. “It would be presumptuous of me to think I speak for all … of my constituents on state and federal matters. We have state and federal representatives for that. The people elected me to handle county business.”

Ferrell said his personal sentiments about non-county issues that come before the Dane County Board are irrelevant. “Some of these resolutions I agree with, and some I disagree with, but I don’t vote on any of them because that’s not what people elected me to do,” he stated.

Corrigan called such questions “legitimate.” “They are, but the most important thing right now is to keep talking about this issue and keep pressing,” she said. “If we don’t, the NRA wins.”

Corrigan said the county board resolution passed last night is “pretty tame” and new restrictions on cartridge size, in particular, might gain enough momentum to end up on the books.

“The gun industry has a very real financial interest in this because they make so much money selling these assault weapons,” Corrigan said. “They are targeting urban white males, and some of the ads are pretty incredible – showing military personnel in the field and basically saying, ‘you can own one of these weapons too.’”

On the other side of the debate are people gathering signatures for petitions, calling their elected officials and supporting things like Resolution 206, according to Corrigan. “There are a lot of people hard at work on this right now,” she said.

The resolution will be delivered to President Obama, Congressional Leaders, Governor Walker and Dane County legislators.


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