Leah Vukmir taunts Gov. Evers with rifle on Twitter

    Former state Sen. Leah Vukmir with a hunting rifle
    Leah Vukmir with a hunting rifle (photo from Twitter)

    In a tweet with a photo of herself aiming a hunting rifle, former state Sen. Leah Vukmir, the Republican candidate for Senate who lost to Tammy Baldwin in 2018, tagged Gov. Tony Evers, challenging the governor to “come and take it.”

    State Republicans jumped on Evers’ passing comment in a press conference that he would consider a proposal for mandatory buy-backs of assault weapons, along the lines of the program Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke promoted in a September debate.

    (On twitter, commenters pointed out that the hunting rifle Vukmir is holding in the photo is not an assault weapon, and not the subject of buy-back discussion.)

    Evers made the comments in response to a reporter’s question at a press conference in which he announced his support for a bill proposed by Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) to create an “extreme risk protection order” process to remove firearms from people deemed at risk of harming themselves or others.

    “It’s time to listen to the will of the people who overwhelmingly want elected officials to start taking gun violence seriously for our kids, our communities and our state,” Gov. Evers said. 

    Under the proposed process, a family member, household member, or law enforcement officer could petition a judge to temporarily prevent someone from possessing a firearm.

    Evers expressed frustration that the Legislature has refused to take up red-flag legislation or a proposal for universal background checks.

    Republican legislative leaders Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and Rep. Robin Vos promptly condemned the measure and Evers’ statements.

    “It’s widely known that we believe this legislation poses threats to due process and the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens,” Fitzgerald and Vos stated in a press release. 

    But the Republicans’ main focus is Evers’ answer to the question about gun buy-backs for assault weapons–a topic he at first waved away, saying it was not the point of the press conference, and, when asked if that meant he would not support such a measure, said he would consider it,  “but my focus is on these two bills and on the two offices [of GOP leaders Fitzgerald and Vos] that would be able to prevent it from going to hearing and to a vote.”

    Reporter Victor Jacobo tweeted the Republican leaders’ statement, as well as video of Evers’ comment at the press conference:

    Fitzgerald and Vos said the comment “revealed Democrats’ real agenda,” and added, “With Governor Evers considering confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens, it shows just how radical Democrats have become.” 

    According to the latest Marquette Law School poll,  81% of respondents in Wisconsin favor “red flag” laws, allowing police to take guns from people who have been found by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others, 80% support expanded background checks. Among Republican voters, there was 74% for background checks, 94% among independents and 76% of conservatives.

    Ruth Conniff
    Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine, and opened the Progressive’s office in Washington, DC, during the Clinton Administration, where she made her debut as a political pundit on CNN’s Capital Gang Sunday and Fox News. She moved to Oaxaca, Mexico, for a year in 2017, where she covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Donald Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on All in with Chris Hayes on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, and other radio and television programs. In 2011, she did award-winning coverage of the uprising against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Conniff graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal.

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