Kaul Calls For More Gun Safety Laws In Wake Of Brewery Shooting

Shooting At Molson Coors Reignites Debate Over Background Checks, Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Josh Kaul at podium
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul in a January 2019 file photo. Andy Manis/AP Photo

A workplace shooting in Milwaukee last week that left six people dead, including the shooter, has renewed calls for gun safety laws that have caused political division in the state.

Fifty-one-year-old Anthony Ferrill fired at five coworkers before turning the gun on himself in the Wednesday shooting at Molson Coors brewery complex.

Shortly after the shooting, state Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, D-Milwaukee, called on colleagues in a statement to take “real, decisive action in order to protect families from the scourge of gun violence.”

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On Tuesday, Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul joined in the chorus of calls for additional gun laws.

“I do agree with Gov. (Tony) Evers and Rep. Brostoff, we should be taking steps that we know can prevent these kinds of tragedies,” Kaul told WPR’s “The Morning Show.” “There’s no silver bullet. There’s nothing that’s going to stop all mass shootings. But there are steps than can make our communities safer and reduce the likelihood that these will happen.”

Those steps, he said, are universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders, often called “red flag” laws. Last August, Evers and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a bill to expand background checks on gun sales in Wisconsin. Under the bill, which was never taken up, gun sales would have to be made through a federally licensed firearms dealer and involve a background check.

A special session on gun legislation called by Evers in November resulted in no action by lawmakers, who didn’t debate or take a vote on expanding background checks or instituting a red flag law.

Democrats supported such a law, but Republican leaders stressed Second Amendment rights and the need to improve mental health care.

RELATED: Republicans Bypass Governor’s Special Session On Gun Laws

On Monday, Evers signed a law for a school-based mental health pilot in Outagamie County. The bill was authored by state Rep. Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, who said it will allow school staff to address student mental health issues in real time.

“With 1 in 5 students experiencing a mental health issue, now is the time to give both our students and schools the support they need,” Steineke said in statement. “I’m excited to see this bill cross the finish line, knowing the incredible resource it can be for our students who are struggling.”

In early December there were back-to-back school shootings in Oshkosh and Waukesha, where a student was shot by police during a confrontation with police.