The Village of Waunakee has joined more than 140 municipalities across the state in a petition for Wisconsin legislators to take action against incidents of mass violence.
The announcement came after a Sept. 18 incident at Waunakee High School. However, local leaders did not indicate any connection between the incident and their decision to follow suit.
Both the village’s president and its administrator have signed onto the petition, which was introduced by a representative from the Wisconsin League of Municipalities this morning.
“Mass shootings and other deadly rampages have become too common in American society,” the petition states. “There have been 250 such incidents in 2019 alone. We cannot continue the cycle that involves wringing our hands for a week and then moving on to business as usual.”
The petition has been sent to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald – the state’s most powerful government leaders.
They have been asked to consider local municipalities and their first responders.
“The League represents the interests of Wisconsin’s 412 villages and 190 cities,” it states. “The local first responders in those communities are the people charged with facing the dangers of those incidents and protecting the lives of our citizens. Those first responders need your help.”
The municipalities have pointed to the fact that gun regulation falls within the purview of the state legislature, and that its members are some of the few who can actually combat the issue.
“It is up to you to determine the right response to this epidemic,” the petition states, “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.”
They have requested other resources as well, such as training for civilians.
“We also ask you to consider providing cities and villages with additional tools,” they stated. “As the September 2018 shooting at a private office in Middleton and the May 2019 death of an Appleton firefighter at a bus depot demonstrate, random violence is not limited to schools.”
Approximately 180 local government officials have now signed the petition, from municipalities all around the state. They have asked state leaders to work together, to come up with a solution.
“Finding consensus will be hard,” they acknowledged. “That cannot, however, be an excuse for doing nothing. Our citizens depend upon us; we must respond. Cities and villages will respond when the call comes in, as surely it will. We ask for your support to prepare for that response.”
Wisconsin officials have yet to issue a response to the League’s petition.