By Karen Stokes
Former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell from Giffords, the gun safety organization and Wisconsin Rep. Sara Rodriguez met Friday, November 4th in Wisconsin to discuss gun safety measures and public safety.
According to Everytown, Wisconsin has some of the weakest gun laws in the country. In an average year, 641 people die by guns in Wisconsin. At the current rate, Milwaukee will shatter the record of 193 homicides that was set last year.
“There are several gun violence prevention solutions,” said Rodriguez. “Doing background checks on all sales in the state and also implementing red flag laws to make sure that people who shouldn’t have guns don’t get their hands on them.”
The numbers from the Exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College Poll showed a divided Wisconsin on most issues. One of the few exceptions was related to gun violence. Numbers showed that 87% of Wisconsinites support or somewhat support universal background checks to buy a gun.
Race also plays an unfortunate factor in gun violence. Gun violence alone reduces the life expectancy of Black Americans by four years according to Bradyunited.org.
Black men are at the highest risk of gun violence. A database created by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that 91% of homicides were the result of firearms; 82% of the victims are Black and 77% of them are men.
“We hosted a roundtable event with State Senator LaTonya Johnson and we discussed this issue specifically,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “Many of our Black and Brown communities have been left behind and ignored by politicians that really don’t care that Black and Latino children are being killed everyday by senseless gun violence.”
Mucarsel-Powell continued, “We need to demand elected officials from both sides but mostly from the Republican side who continue to block any attempt to support our communities that are twice as likely to be affected by gun violence more than other communities.”
President Biden is committed to serving as a strong partner for state and local law enforcement on the frontlines of the fight against crime. He has proposed a $5 billion investment in community violence interventions, including a $200 million investment in Fiscal Year 2022.
Locally, Attorney General Josh Kaul and Governor Evers have a comprehensive plan for violence prevention across the state.
“Governor Evers has put in every budget that he’s had additional resources to be able to pay for additional firefighters and additional police officers and that’s through something called shared revenue,” Rodriguez said.
Both Rodriguez and Mucarsel-Powell spoke passionately about what needs to be done for safer communities across the country and in Wisconsin.
“We need resources to provide mental health support, we need resources to provide support for the families that are left behind after the trauma of gun violence. That’s why it’s so important for us to support Sara Rodriguez who will be our next Lt. Governor of Wisconsin and support Governor Evers who is going to put the safety of our communities above anything else,” said Mucarsel-Powell.
“The only thing I would like to say as a nurse is gun violence is a public health crisis and we should treat it as such and there are many different solutions we can go with that a lot of Wisconsinites want to see and the Republican Party is out of step with Wisconsin values,” said Rodriguez.