Tony Evers unveils red flag bill (copy)

Gov. Tony Evers, center, and Attorney General Josh Kaul, left, announce a gun control bill last month that would allow courts to remove guns from people deemed to pose an imminent threat.

Gov. Tony Evers is urging lawmakers to convene in special session to take up two gun safety measures he and Democrats are pushing. 

The special session call Monday comes after Evers has pledged to convene one for weeks on legislation he said would curb gun violence in the state: a so-called "red flag" bill and another that would implement stricter background checks.

Evers in his Milwaukee announcement said he has urged the Legislature to "pass commonsense gun safety reform" since he took office in January, but he noted Republicans have failed to act. 

"I want Republicans in the Legislature to work with Democrats to send these bills to my desk," he said, as he called for a "no nonsense" approach to the bills. 

Although a special session has now been set for Nov. 7, the Legislature isn't required to take up the bills, and they're unlikely to go far in the Republican-controlled Legislature. GOP leaders in both houses have both been cool to the issue. 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said in a statement that his chamber "will not be part of a drawn-out strategy to infringe on constitutional rights.”  

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Evers' announcement "will not change where my Assembly Republican colleagues and I stand on protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of Wisconsin citizens."

Evers, though, threatened to hold "serial special sessions" until lawmakers vote on the bills.  

Under the "red flag" legislation, family members or police would be able to ask a court to take firearms from an individual who is considered dangerous. The court could then issue a temporary restraining order and injunction if it is found the person is likely to injure themselves or someone else. 

Meanwhile, through the background checks bill, individuals wouldn’t be able to sell or transfer guns unless that process occurs through a federally licensed firearms dealer and includes a background check. That bill was first announced in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

The latest Marquette University Law School Poll, released in early September, showed 80% of respondents support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.  

The last special session was in spring 2018 under former GOP Gov. Scott Walker on school safety bills

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Briana Reilly covers state government and politics for the Cap Times. She joined the staff in 2019, after working at Follow her on Twitter at @briana_reilly.