Republican Leaders Advocate for Continued Access to Guns for Criminals and Terrorists

Jan 11, 2016

Republican Leaders Advocate for Continued Access to Guns for Criminals and Terrorists  

On the heels of President Obama’s introduction of a new group of executive actions to reduce gun violence, Republican leaders in Wisconsin have summarily opposed the president’s steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. Republicans even go so far as to advocate for the use of taxpayer funds to challenge the executive actions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement immediately after the president’s announcement and predicted that the actions would be challenged in court. Governor Scott Walker went a step further by calling for Attorney General Brad Schimel to use taxpayer funds to “take any and all legal measures available” to challenge the executive orders. 

The president’s actions ensure that law abiding and responsible gun owners will still be able to have firearms, but Republican leaders have taken particular exception to the President’s effort to improve background checks for all gun sales, including online purchases. 

We only need to look back to the 2012 Azana Salon & Spa shooting in Brookfield to see the value in improving the background check system and extending those checks to online gun sales. In a tragic event at the spa, Zina Daniel Haughton and two other women were gunned down by her abusive husband, Radcliffe Haugton, before he fatally shot himself. 

Haughton purchased a .40 caliber handgun and high-capacity magazines for $500 from a seller he met online from Armslist, an online gunsales site. Haughton used the site to facilitate a meeting between himself and the seller the day before the Spa shooting. 

Haughton was able to buy a gun despite a Milwaukee County judge issuing a restraining order against him just three days before the shooting occured. Under federal law, the judge’s order should have barred Haughton from owning a firearm or buying one from a gun dealer under federal law, but Haughton was able to sidestep federal law by purchasing the gun privately. 

At the time of the shooting, Scott Walker claimed it was too soon to talk about what could or should be done to prevent another shooting from happening again. In the years since, Walker has declined to support legislative proposals to expand background checks. Now, Scott Walker and Republican leaders are willing to spend taxpayer money to defend the same flawed system that led to four tragic deaths more than three years ago. 

“The president’s round of executive actions to improve background checks on gun buyers, community saftey, mental health treatment and smart gun technology are a positive step in keeping citizens safe here in Wisconsin and all over the nation.” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning on Monday. “Republican leaders haven’t addressed the obvious flaws in our background checks system. By preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands, the president is protecting the right of law abiding citizens to own them. Once again, the president is leading on an issue where Republicans have dropped the ball.”