WATERLOO — Waterloo Mayor Jeni Quimby and Clerk/Treasurer Mo Hansen were among the nearly 180 Wisconsin local government officials asking Gov. Tony Evers, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to take action against incidents of mass violence.
A letter to the three elected officials, penned by League of Wisconsin Municipalities Executive Director Jerry Deschane, was introduced Wednesday morning at the Oak Creek City Hall.
The location of the announcement is significant, as the community was the location of the 2012 mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where seven people — including the gunman — were killed.
The document, dated Sept. 3, noted that according to the United States Conference of Mayors, there have been 250 mass shooting and deadly rampages in the United States in 2019 alone.
“We cannot continue the cycle that involves wringing our hands for a week and then moving on to business as usual,” the executive director wrote.
Attached to the letter are four pages of signatures ranging from various municipal positions including clerks, treasurers, administrators and department heads, and elected officials including mayors, presidents, alders, trustees and council members.
The letter indicates gun regulations are under the influence of the state’s legislature.
“As such, it is up to you to determine the right response to the epidemic; whether that response be more complete background checks, “red flag” laws, increased resources for mental health response, prohibiting habitual criminals from possessing firearms, et al,” the executive director wrote.
The document asks Evers, Vos and Fitzgerald to provide communities with additional tools to help curb the epidemic of mass shootings and deadly rampages as resources for instructing first responders and civilians are limited.
The letter mentions the creation of Wisconsin Act 143, which set aside resources and training for schools in light of the 2018 Florida high school shooting.
“The league believes similar instruction and collaboration is just as important at public and private community locations as mass violence is not just limited to schools,” the letter reads.
“This issue has many facets and arouses strong emotions. That is not surprising,” Deschane wrote. “Finding consensus will be hard.
“That cannot, however, be an excuse for doing nothing,” it continues.
In addition to Waterloo, the nearby communities of Reeseville, Watertown and Columbus had representatives endorse the letter.