Rep. Dittrich: Measured action versus manipulation

As each new mass shooting hits the news, the shock and horror never fully dissipate. “We need to DO something now!” is a completely human, visceral response to these atrocities.

Politicians, like Governor Evers, wish to appear as heroes run to the cameras to tout legally untested, popular “remedies” to mass shootings, even when the constitutionality of those ideas is unclear. However, these situations call for wise discernment and rational action rather than the emotions that threaten to overtake us. For this reason, I have been measured in my response to these crises as they occur around the nation. My goal as a legislator is to only take action that will create real, positive change, rather than appearing to have a quick-fix solution when this issue is complicated.

Citizens may be aware that Wisconsin is already ahead of the game when it comes to separating those with mental health issues from firearms. Multiple chapters in WI State Statute already restrict firearms possession where an individual is found to be a danger to themselves or the public (under a mental health commitment)[1], undergoing treatment or incapacitated for/suffering from alcoholism[2], had a legal guardian appointed[3], or an order of protective services or protective placement[4].

Make no mistake, changing the verbiage of liberal ideas from “red flag laws” to “extreme risk protection orders” (ERPO) does not change the intent or effect of the proposed idea. It would seem that this twist of verbiage is intended to further frighten the public.

“Red flag” laws in other states have already come under fire for their unconstitutionality, including a statement by the American Civil Liberties Union Pennsylvania (ACLUPA): “…issuing an ERPO is based on speculation about a person’s risk of possible violence, resulting in likely violations of privacy and due process rights.”

As a conservative, I will not abdicate our role in government and allow one side to dominate the conversation. While we already have laws separating dangerous individuals from firearms, there are measured steps we can take to ensure our citizens are safe while ensuring they have the means to protect themselves, not infringing on their 2nd Amendment rights. I continue to work with colleagues on proposals that will protect the public while respecting the rights of all.

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