So-called municipal “leaders” from across Wisconsin are calling on the state legislature to do something about gun violence.

As Benjamin Yount of the Center Square reports:

No one is saying what nearly 200 local leaders from across Wisconsin want done about gun violence in the state. But they all say they want lawmakers to do something. 

The Wisconsin League of Municipalities on Wednesday released a letter signed by 185 local leaders that asks the state legislature to address what they call an “epidemic of gun violence.”

However, the group remained unspecific about possible remedies.

“Whether that response be more complete background checks, ‘red flag laws,’ increased resources for mental health response, prohibiting habitual criminals from possessing firearms, et al,” the letter states. “Municipal leaders respect your role in deciding on a proper course of action, but we beg you – please act.”

The League of Municipalities represents Wisconsin’s 412 villages and 180 cities, but the 185 signatures does not mean 185 communities are on board. Many cities or villages had more than one person sign the letter. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is one of the biggest names, from the biggest city in the state, on the letter. He said Gov. Tony Evers is proposing ideas – a red flag law and background checks that apply to private and family sales of guns – that he likes. 

“It is important for our legislators to work with our governor to make sure we are doing everything we can to reduce the violence that we see not just in Milwaukee, not just in urban areas,” Barrett said. 

A spokeswoman for Evers said Barrett and other local leaders are echoing what they’ve been saying for months. 

“These local officials are clearly listening to their constituents, who overwhelmingly support the commonsense gun safety proposals Gov. Evers has championed,” Evers’ spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said in a statement. 

But the Republicans who are in charge of the legislature in Madison continue say more laws won’t make Wisconsin’s problems go away.

If these city officials, especially those from Milwaukee, really were concerned about the epidemic of violence in their communities they would begin to mount a persistent campaign to publicize and shame every weak prosecutor and judge in their area who fail to prosecute and sentence using the laws already on the books.

  • Slapping juvenile car thieves on the wrist, time and time again.
  • Dropping gun charges as part of plea deals, especially ‘felons in possession of firearm’ charges.
  • Ignoring violent encounters that happen inside schools, pushing restorative justice as a stand-alone resolution, as opposed to having such efforts be concurrent with actual punishment.

Most of our urban communities are governed by left-of-center cogs in Democratic political machines who fail their constituents time and time again because they refuse to enforce the laws already on the books.

It does not take action by the state legislature to enforce these laws…to prosecute these crimes, and to impose meaningful sentences. It takes leadership at the local level.

Perhaps these mayors would be wise to get their own houses in order before they come crying to Madison to “do something.”

You can read more from The Center Square, here.