Republicans seek to shield Wisconsin gun owners from feds

June 9, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Future federal laws that would ban or restrict the use of guns could not be enforced in Wisconsin under a Republican-backed bill the state Assembly approved Wednesday.

The measure is part of a national wave of similar proposals intended to resist new gun control measures. The bills are a reaction from Republicans to a push by President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to tighten gun control laws.

However, because the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution dictates that federal law trumps conflicting state law, many previous GOP-backed state efforts to thwart gun laws have been found unconstitutional. Several states passed similar laws under then-President Barack Obama, but judges ruled against them.


Even if the Wisconsin Senate passed the new bill, it would likely be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who supports tighter gun control limits.

The proposal generally would prohibit police in Wisconsin from enforcing a federal law that bans or restricts gun or ammunition sales. It would also exempt any gun or ammunition made in Wisconsin from federal regulation and prohibit any state or local government agency from spending taxpayer money to confiscate guns or ammunition.

Assembly Democrats warned that the state can’t trump federal law and the bill would leave police powerless to seize guns from domestic abusers. Rep. Tip McGuire of Kenosha said the measure would “handcuff” police.

Republicans countered that they’re protecting Wisconsin residents’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and ensuring people can defend themselves as local governments defund police departments.

“This is a great bill,” Rep. Tyler August said. “This is a bill we should pass. The governor should sign this bill to continue to protect the 2nd Amendment rights of the people we work for when it’s clear the people running Washington have no interest in doing so.”

The Assembly passed the bill 61-36. Rep. Nick Milroy was the only Democrat who voted in favor of the measure.