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A life is taken by gun violence every three days in the City of Milwaukee. If someone died every three days from a preventable disease, you’d better believe we’d be working to find a cure for that. So why are guns any different? The 125 people who died in Milwaukee at the hands of guns were not just a statistic – they were our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, neighbors and friends – and they were all victims of senseless violence. We can and must fix this.

I’ve never shied away from the gun debate. I believe in protecting all the constitutional rights, not just some of them. That means I support the rights of law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for protection.

But I also believe in common-sense solutions to crack down on gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. This past week, Republicans announced legislation to remove licensing and permit requirements for concealed carry. This is just plain wrong. I supported concealed carry because there were licensing and training requirements. To allow people to carry guns around in public without any basic firearm training is unsafe, and I refuse to support this bill.

We need to get smart on guns before it’s too late. This session I will introduce the following bills to make our communities safer.

Universal background checks are a common sense reform to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms. There shouldn’t be any loopholes or ways to get around the law if you’re not fit to own something as lethal as a gun.

Microstamping bullets will allow for police forensic deceives to track bullet cartridges to the gun’s owner and help bring murderers to justice. No arrest is made in 66% of gun homicides in Milwaukee. Letting killers roam the streets with impunity is unacceptable, and microstamping legislation will help identify the owner of the gun and bring the suspect to justice.

Mandatory liability insurance promotes safe behavior through incentives for safe practices while ensuring that victims of gun violence are properly compensated. We require people to own car insurance for the same reasons, so why should it not apply to guns? Citizens in public have no choice but to be exposed to concealed carry, and they should be covered from any harm.

“No fly, no buy” prevents individuals who are on the no-fly list from purchasing a firearm. If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, then you should not be able to buy a gun either. Plain and simple.

If someone is charged with a hate crime, they should never be allowed to buy a gun. I hope we can all agree on this one. In a time of growing hate peddled by extremists on the political right, minority communities are at a greater risk of violence than they have been in decades. The animosity behind a hate crime will not disappear after their sentence, and they should be barred from owning a gun to prevent a mass shooting motivated by hate.

Increased concealed carry training will ensure that responsible gun owners who choose to concealed carry are well-trained in how to use their gun. More than 1 in 20 adults in the US have a concealed carry permit, and a training requirement by a state police-approved partner will help keep everyone safe. We make drivers go through drivers’ education, so we can do the same for carrying a gun in public.

I’ll be the first to admit that gun laws alone won’t solve the problem of gun violence. But we have to start somewhere. Murder and violence are happening under current laws and regulations, so it should be a no-brainer that smarter laws could reduce gun violence.

Written by State Sen. Lena Taylor

State Sen. Lena Taylor

Wisconsin State Sen. Lena Taylor represents the 4th State Senate District in Milwaukee.

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