Assembly Democrats unsuccessfully pushed for a vote Tuesday on legislation that would have required background checks on all gun purchases in Wisconsin.
The effort got bogged down in a nearly four-hour procedural debate, after Republicans amended the bill to remove the background check language – adding provisions dealing with straw purchases of firearms and creating grants for school safety officers.
Madison Democrat Lisa Subeck was critical of the move, calling it a “bait and switch.”
Democrats accused the GOP of trying to avoid a vote on background checks, which they noted are widely supported by the public. However, Republican Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie argued it was more about how they were trying to pass the bill though. “This deplorable blockhead believes in background checks,” she said during debate on the Assembly floor, while taking issue with the effort to call the bill for a vote without going through the committee process.
The amended legislation eventually passed on a bipartisan 71-24 vote.
The debate came just hours after dozens of high school students from Madison attended a press conference at the Capitol to call for legislative action on gun control. Sophomore Lydia Hester pointed to the active shooter drills she’s had to go through kindergarten. “This is not something that a five-year-old should have to think about,” she said. “Kids are dying for your right to own a gun – is your gun really worth hundreds of lives?”
The teens joined Democratic lawmakers in calling for votes on stalled bills that would require background checks, bar people convicted of domestic violence from having a gun, and ban the sale or manufacture of bump stocks.