- Views & Opinions
Scott Walker has squandered hundreds of hours along with untold sums of money and other state resources pursuing futile legal battles against the White House. With much fanfare, he’s joined in unwinnable cases against same-sex marriage and Obamacare, as well as lawsuits over executive orders on immigration and EPA regulations.
Undaunted by his failure to achieve any measure of success in those legal battles, Walker now wants to drag state taxpayers into a legal fray to thwart the president’s minor executive orders aimed at curbing the nation’s off-the-charts level of gun violence. In fact, Walker was apparently first out of the gate on this one, asking Attorney General Brad Schimel to review the plan as soon as it’s released and take any and all legal measures to challenge it.
Other states have joined one or more of the anti-Obama lawsuits. But, “I think Wisconsin is probably one of a select few states that has joined every single one of these lawsuits against the Obama administration,” said Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now.
The governor’s grandstanding made sense when he fancied himself a presidential contender, but it’s hard to understand this latest attention-grabbing gambit. There’s no demand for such action coming from the voters. The state was more or less evenly divided on gun control the last time the Wisconsin Professional Police Association conducted a survey on the issue in 2013 (there will be another survey later this year).
Republicans ridiculed Obama for shedding tears while announcing his gun control plan. They’re so hardened by political money that they fail to realize it’s their mechanical, self-serving reaction to the nation’s 372 mass shootings last year alone that deserves scorn. We can’t recall a single instance in which Walker has expressed sorrow or empathy for the hundreds of innocent bystanders slain while he’s raked in the dough from gun manufacturers and the NRA.
In contrast, Walker has shown a lot of compassion for law-abiding citizens who might be inconvenienced by background checks. He’s signed several Republican-backed laws relaxing firearm regulations in Wisconsin — two of them last June just after a racist gunman shot nine African-Americans attending Bible study in a South Carolina church.
Our state might rank toward the bottom on income growth and job losses, but thanks to Walker and state Republicans it’s risen to No. 25 on Guns & Ammo’s “best states for gun owners 2015.”
Obama’s proposals were so modest that filing a lawsuit against them is ridiculous. The president seeks primarily to step up enforcement of laws already on the books in order to curb the unregulated buying and selling of weapons at gun shows and flea markets, as well as over the Internet. Licensed gun dealers would not be affected.
Obama’s plan includes hiring 230 FBI staffers to improve and expedite background checks. He also said that he’ll seek funding for an additional 200 agents and investigators in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and that he’ll ask Congress for $500 million to improve mental health services.
Congressional Republicans quickly scoffed at the notion they’d fulfill his requests. The NRA spent nearly $30 million, the vast majority of it on Republicans, in 2014 to ensure our nation will never adopt meaningful gun control.
Ever since the Obama took office, right-wing conspiracy spinners have warned that he’d take away citizens’ guns and establish some sort of liberal dictatorship (an oxymoron if there ever was one). Of course, that hasn’t happened.
But now, after a year of seemingly ceaseless mass shootings, the president has finally stepped forward over congressional refusal to consider the problem, and the NRA and their Republican puppets are reacting as if the wing nuts’ delusions have come true.
And leave it to Walker to climb on top of all the slaughtered innocents and exploit the situation.