Guns for sale

Semi-automatic handguns hang on display for purchase at Capitol City Arms Supply in Springfield, Illinois. 

It’s bad enough our elected officials at the statehouse and in Washington have blocked sensible gun laws that the vast majority of Americans — including most gun owners — support, such as universal background checks on firearm purchases.

But here in Wisconsin and elsewhere, many of the politicians in power actually want to make our gun laws even looser than they already are.

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting — this time in Las Vegas, with at least 59 dead and more than 500 wounded — the Republican push to relax gun laws further is reckless.

Details about the lone Vegas shooter and his many weapons are still being investigated. But this much is obvious: America has plenty of guns — by one estimate, more than 300 million — and too few limits on who can buy, use and carry them around. The United States has averaged more than one mass shooting every day since a madman opened fire at an Orlando nightclub June 12, 2016, killing 49 and wounding more, according to The New York Times.

That had been our nation’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history until a deranged man killed even more from a tower in Las Vegas this week, raining bullets down on a music festival.

Despite hundreds of mass shootings in the last year alone, Congress still hasn’t closed the loophole on background checks when guns are purchased at gun shows and over the internet. And now Congress is considering making it easier to buy silencers for guns. A House committee approved a bill from U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., last month.

The Vegas massacre would have been even worse if concert-goers couldn’t hear the bullets being fired.

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Closer to home, state Senate Republicans pushed a bill through committee last month to let people carry concealed guns without training or permits — and in some cases take them onto school grounds. Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, claims this would make the public safer. Seriously?

Another proposal would let felons and people with domestic abuse restraining orders against them have older guns. But those firearms can kill people, too.

Rep. Ken Skowronski, R-Franklin, and Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, want to let school districts have guns on their premises for teenagers to learn to handle and shoot during safety classes. That would undermine zero-tolerance policies forbidding weapons on school property.

The Legislature and Congress should be moving in the opposite direction of greater public safety through reasonable limits on gun purchases and use.

Following the Las Vegas slaughter, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, said the silencer bill is “not a priority.” That’s good.

But none of the other proposals watering down our already weak gun laws should be moving forward, either.

Capital W: Plug in to Wisconsin politics

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