The Dane County Board of Supervisors, as well as members of the Youth Governance Program are calling on Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to take action on gun violence.
The letter, signed by the 31 of 37 supervisors and sent to the congressional delegation today, , demands that congress pass six federal gun reforms. . Those laws include a ban on assault weapons, raising the minimum age for buying a rifle to 21, passing the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.
The letter follows three high-profile mass shootings in a Buffalo grocery store, Uvalde elementary school, and Tulsa hospital – three of 248 mass shootings so far this year. 19,000 people have died from gun violence in the United States so far this year, according to statistics from the Gun Violence Archive.
Supervisor April Kigeya co-wrote the letter along with three other supervisors – Alex Joers of district 9, Dana Pellebon of district 33, and Jacob Wright of district 17. She says that they wrote the letter because they say that enough is enough.
“We need to stop talking about prayers and condolences and actually do things to make change, so we came together to write this letter to hopefully bring some more attention to it and get the ball rolling in legislation areas,” Kigeya says.
“Kids are afraid to go to school, and as a parent it’s just heartbreaking to know that this can happen and wondering, when I drop my kids off, am I going to be picking them up from school? Some of this is driven by fear, which I have and a lot of other parents and colleagues as well, but also from our kids. They’re really scared, and this is something that just has to be dealt with,” Kigeya says.
The letter reads, quote, “As our community mourns the loss of innocent school children, we must again demand that Congress urgently pass effective gun safety reform to curb the senseless violence that we are seeing all too often in the United States,” end quote.
Supervisor Joers says that this time, something feels different – like gun reform may actually be achievable.
“Just using our voices to just highlight the tragedy in Texas is something that will hopefully move our federal representatives to do something about this. There are so many different levers we can pull to make sure that some kind of change happens to put an end to gun violence. If the urgency to do something is now, that is what we need to do,” Joers says.
Also signing onto the letter were seven members of the Dane County Youth Governance Program, an extension of UW-Madison created to offer youth opportunities for leadership development and empowerment in local government.
Gordon Allen, a member of the Youth Governance Program and student at Madison East High School, says that signing the letter is not a political action, but one to show legislatures the thoughts of today’s youth.
“It’s important for us to sign this letter because when you look at what happened in Texas, a lot of the times it affected those of a younger age. We see now, with mass shootings in schools, that affects the youth, and it also harms psychologically to affect the youth,” Allen says.
In Wisconsin, two GOP candidates for state attorney general said earlier this week that they support expanding gun rights in Wisconsin, including restoring gun rights to those convicted of nonviolent felonies.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that candidates Adam Jarchow and Eric Toney both supported the position during a debate between republican candidates for attorney general.
This Saturday, gun reform advocates with March for Our Lives will hold a march at the Capitol beginning at 3pm.