America finally is getting serious about reasonable gun restrictions.
Even President Donald Trump — who pledged his loyalty to the National Rifle Association at its national convention last year — said last week he favors several gun control measures that the NRA staunchly opposes. Another mass shooting, this time at a Florida high school, has led to strong and sustained calls for action.
Facing voters this fall, Gov. Scott Walker is contemplating a package of proposals for Wisconsin. The Republican governor definitely should call a special session of the Legislature to bolster school safety.
Gov. Walker didn’t indicate last week which ideas he’s considering. But several sensible fixes to existing law deserve broad support.
Banning bump stocks, which essentially turn semiautomatic weapons into machine guns, should be a no-brainer. Bump stocks allowed a Las Vegas shooter last fall to rain down more than 1,100 bullets onto an outdoor music festival, killing 58 and injuring more than 500.
No one, other than our military, should have access to such relentless firepower.
Gov. Walker and the Legislature also should embrace consistent background checks on gun purchases. Licensed gun sellers in Wisconsin have stopped more than 1,000 criminals annually from buying weapons by running quick and simple checks. Criminals shouldn’t be allowed to dodge this scrutiny by purchasing firearms at gun shows and online, where such a screen isn’t required.
An estranged husband fatally shot three women at a Brookfield spa in 2012 using a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol he brought from an online seller the day before his rampage. The online seller didn’t have to legally check the man’s record. If the seller had, a lengthy restraining order would have prevented the sale.
Rep. Kathleen Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, recently said on the floor of the Assembly she supports stronger background checks, though not when Democrats demanded a vote. A special legislative session this spring would allow Bernier plenty of time to sponsor universal gun screenings with bipartisan support.
Gov. Walker has wisely rejected calls to arm teachers. State leaders should, however, commit greater funding to school security, including more police officers in schools.
Antigo police in 2016 showed the value of having trained professionals at schools when they stopped a former student from shooting up the high school prom in the northern Wisconsin city.
If teenagers can’t legally buy or consume beer, why do we allow them to purchase assault weapons? Limits on high-capacity magazine would save some lives. So would more attention to mental health issues.
None of these proposals would stop law-abiding people from exercising their Second Amendment rights. But they would make Wisconsin’s schools and communities safer.