Deliberating About Wisconsin Gun Control Legislation
Is legislation aimed at restricting access to gun purchases and increasing penalties for gun related crimes a good idea for Wisconsin?
School shootings and other gun related crimes frequently bring up questions about what, if any, additional gun control measures should be enacted. States have some leeway to enact additional restrictions on gun purchase, possession, and penalties, beyond federal statues but within the bounds of the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. In 2018, a bipartisan proposal was passed in the Wisconsin State legislature and signed by the Governor which aims to make “straw buying” – the legal purchase of a gun with the intent to transfer to a person who is prohibited from owning it – a felony, and pose mandatory minimums for certain gun related crimes. This lesson asks students to consider whether or not they believe that this proposal is a good move for the state of Wisconsin. The lesson draws on a recent incident in Hayward, Wisconsin, and data from the city of Milwaukee to demonstrate that this is a statewide issue. Students will use primary source testimony and debate from a committee hearing to better understand the issues at stake and develop an opinion on this issue. The primary aim of this lesson is to facilitate discussion of the controversial issue of gun control using a concrete and authentic example of recent legislation in Wisconsin.