Wisconsin politicians debate what's next after Connecticut shootingsWisconsin News
-- President Obama told grieving residents of Newtown Connecticut last night that he’ll use “whatever power” he has to prevent massacres like Friday’s elementary school shootings.
President Obama told grieving residents of Newtown Connecticut last night that he’ll use “whatever power” he has to prevent massacres like Friday’s elementary school shootings. And in Wisconsin, lawmakers of both parties addressed gun rights and school safety in the wake of the murders of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary. Gun rights hardly raised a ripple in the presidential and Wisconsin U-S Senate campaigns – even though it was fresh on people’s minds following the Sikh Temple tragedy at Oak Creek in early August. Obama briefly mentioned Oak Creek at last night’s vigil, and said the nation cannot tolerate such growing violence. As always, reactions fell along partisan lines, with liberals blaming the guns and conservatives blaming the criminals.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he would again ask state lawmakers next year to make it a felony for those prohibited from carrying concealed weapons to do so – and for people to buy guns for criminals. Barrett said he would also try to make private gun sales subject to criminal background checks. Incoming state Senate Democratic leader Chris Larson said both parties would have to agree to changes, but it will be hard because quote, “the National Rifle Association has a stranglehold on the Republican Party.” State G-O-P finance co-chair Alberta Darling said schools are among the places where concealed weapons cannot be carried – and perhaps those exemptions should be reviewed because they quote, “advertise where people are not able to protect themselves.” Nik Clark of a state group that supports concealed carry doubted that the Legislature would allow concealed weapons in schools, but his group would support it. Darling also cautioned against passing laws making it easier to institutionalize those with mental illnesses. She said people need to do their part by being aware of those showing severe mental illnesses, and letting authorities know about them.
Wisconsinites grieved together on Sunday for the people of Newtown Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 kids and six adults. The First Assembly Church in Waukesha held two special prayer services to remember the victims of Friday’s massacre. In Racine, several hundred attended a candlelight vigil last night in Monument Square, put on by the city’s Interfaith Coalition. Racine Mayor John Dickert and religious leaders were among the speakers. Penny Dechesk of Franksville said she wanted to be with people who felt the same way as her – and she didn’t want to go through the tragedy alone. Some parents said that Sandy Hook Elementary could have been any school – including theirs. Jan Herman of Kenosha said it makes you appreciate every day – and you never want kids to be afraid to go to school.