Do something about gun violence in Wisconsin: vote in Tuesday’s Supreme Court primary

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Three candidates are running to be on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court this spring — and one of them received an endorsement this week from the National Rifle Association, just one day before the deadly shooting at a Florida high school. 

That candidate’s name is Michael Screnock. He’s decidedly conservative; the two other candidates for the state Supreme Court, Tim Burns and Rebecca Dallet, are considered to be the more liberal/progressive choices for the seat. 

The candidates have to make it through two elections. Their first test comes this Tuesday, February 20, in the primary election. The top two vote-getters in that race will compete against one another in the general election, which is slated for April 3.

 

“It’s important that all pro-Second Amendment voters get to the polls on Feb. 20 and elect Judge Michael Screnock to the state Supreme Court,” Chris W. Cox of the NRA Political Victory Fund said Tuesday, the day before Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that left 17 dead.

Screnock labels himself an “originalist.” But the original interpretation of the Second Amendment was that it protected the rights of militias, not individuals. That was the standard up until very recently. 

Gun advocates often treat the Second Amendment as sacred. Yet other guarantees Americans enjoy under the Bill of Rights — freedoms of speech, religion, and more — do come with limits. You can’t use speech to incite violence, and you can’t buy a machine gun or a nuclear weapon. There deserves to be a robust debate about the extent of Second Amendment rights, but it doesn’t violate the Constitution to consider other reasonable restrictions on personal weaponry.  

Wisconsin has drastically deregulated its own gun rules in the past seven years under Gov. Scott Walker. What has happened in that time? We’ve seen an increase in violent crime in general, and Wisconsin residents now have a 68 percent higher chance of being murdered by a gun than before Walker took office, according to FBI statistics.

Wisconsinites who are serious about combating the gun epidemic in our state specifically need to make their voices heard this Tuesday, as well as in April. 

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