2021 Citizen Virtual Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

During each Wisconsin legislative session (biennially), gun violence prevention activists, like you, join together to demand that Wisconsin’s legislators prioritize the safety of Wisconsinites by passing lifesaving gun violence prevention bills and opposing reckless bills that support the gun lobby’s “guns everywhere” agenda.

It is that time again!

True to our mission, we want to keep our supporters safe. Therefore, to prevent exposure to and the spread of COVID-19, this session, our Day of Action will be completely virtual.

How To Participate

Day of Action Agenda

  1. Welcome and legislative overview presented by Jeri Bonavia, WAVE Educational Fund Executive Director
  2. Opportunity for you to share your story of gun violence’s impact on your life with legislators
  3. Legislators and legislative staff respond to your questions and comments
  4. Closing

Participation Instructions

  1. On November 9, log into Zoom for your scheduled meeting. We will provide attendees with this link before the event. You can look up your legislative district here: https://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/

            10 – 10:30 AM CT – Eastern Senate Districts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 30, 33)

            12 – 12:30 PM CT – Western Senate Districts (10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 32)

Using the Zoom “Rename” function, add your senate district and assembly district to your name.
(Example: Heidi Rose SD8/AD19) If this feels too complicated for you, do not worry about it.

Click the Participants button, which will look something like this and be located near the bottom of your Zoom window.
Find your name and click More next to it.
Select Rename and type your name followed by your senate and assembly district.

When the virtual legislative visit begins, please use the “Raise Hand” function to speak, and WAVE staff will call on you.

The Raise Hand button will look something like this and be located toward the bottom of your Zoom window.

Alternatively, you can type comments or questions into the chat. WAVE will save all of the comments and deliver your messages to legislators after the meeting.

The Chat button will look something like this and be located toward the bottom of your Zoom window.

Tips for Communicating With Legislators and Legislative Staff

Be Ready to Say:

  • Who you are: Share a sentence about who you are and where you live.
    “My name is ______. I am a WAVE supporter living in ________, Wisconsin, which is in Senate District __ and Assembly District ___. I want you to know there are actions you can take to save lives.
  • Why you’re here: Tell your personal story.
    “I work in the medical profession, and I am astounded by the devastation I see every day…“
  • What you want: I urge you to support background checks on all gun sales, an extreme risk protective order (ERPO) policy, and a bill to prevent people who are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime from possessing firearms.
    “I’d like you to assure me that you will do everything you can to support the passage of these lifesaving bills.”
    Knowing that 80% of Wisconsinites, including gun owners, support these lifesaving policies, I encourage you to support the will of the people.”
  • Why it matters: An example of how the policymaker’s decision will affect your family and your community.
    “If these bills pass, they will provide much-needed prevention tools to help keep families like mine safe.”


  • Be passionate about the issue; passion is contagious!
  • Show appreciation for their time, consideration, and, hopefully, their support.
  • Be honest and concise; simple works best.
  • Be in control of the conversation; frame the issues the way you want others to see them, emphasizing the consensus that gun violence is a public health crisis and the need for lifesaving gun policies.
  • Offer followup; if you are asked for information that you don’t have, tell them you will ask WAVE staff to respond.

Tips adapted from NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL FOR CHILDREN, Better Public Policy for Children, Youth and Families: An Advocacy Guide, August 2000.

Lifesaving Gun Violence Prevention Bills

The following laws would help prevent gun violence in Wisconsin:

1. Require background checks on all gun sales. (AB637/SB624)

  • In Wisconsin, federally licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check on all firearm sales, but private sellers are not. This private sale loophole allows just about anyone to sell a gun with no background check, no identification, and no questions asked. 
  • In the ten years following Connecticut’s passage of its law requiring prospective handgun buyers first to get a permit – by passing a criminal background check – firearm homicides declined by 40%.[i]
  • After Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required a criminal background check prior to purchasing handguns from licensed dealers or private sellers, firearm homicides in the state increased 25%. That translated to an increase of between 55 and 63 homicides every year.[ii]
  • In the states that require background checks for all handgun sales, there are lower rates of gun violence across a variety of groups: 47% fewer women are fatally shot by intimate partners, 53% fewer law enforcement officers are fatally shot in the line of duty with guns that are not their own, and there are 47% fewer suicides by gun.[iii]
  • Recent polling shows that the vast majority (80%) of Wisconsin voters, including gun owners, support a law requiring background checks on all gun sales.[iv]

2. Create a mechanism that allows for the temporary removal of guns when individuals are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others. (AB638)

  • Often after a horrible act of violence, families say they saw warning signs – red flags – but there was nothing they could do.
  • An Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) gives families and law enforcement officers a way to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit an at-risk person from possessing a gun. The ERPO is a non-criminal process that involves a court hearing, as well as clearly defined due process protections.
  • Evidence shows that ERPO-like laws have reduced firearm suicide rates by 14% (Connecticut) and 7.5% (Indiana).[v]
  • Recent polling shows that the vast majority (81%) of Wisconsin residents support an ERPO law.[vi]
  • When our loved ones are in crisis, they should have access to quality care, not guns.

3. Prohibit people from possessing a firearm if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. (AB321/SB317)[vii]

  • Sixty-eight people in WI lost their lives to domestic violence(DV) in 2020. 
  • There are highly predictable patterns in DV in Wisconsin: 
    • Firearms are the primary weapon used in DV homicide in WI; in 2020, firearms were used in 52% of DV homicide incidents. 
    • Over one-third of the perpetrators in 2020, who used a gun to commit a DV homicide, were legally prohibited from possessing a firearm. 
  • This bill would bring state law in line with federal law.  

Dangerous “Guns Everywhere” Bills

The following bills would exacerbate gun violence in Wisconsin:

Bills That Expand Concealed Carry

1. Allow the possession of a firearm in a vehicle on school grounds by a person with a license to carry a concealed weapon. (AB495/SB484)

2. Lower the minimum age to be eligible for a license to carry a concealed weapon. (AB498/SB502)

3. Allow people with out-of-state licenses to carry concealed weapons in Wisconsin. (AB518/SB516)

4. Allow the possession of a firearm by a licensee in a place of worship located on the grounds of a private school. (AB597/SB584)

5. Allow permitless carry by eliminating the prohibition against carrying a concealed weapon without regard to whether the individual has a license, card, or training and by eliminating prohibitions for carrying concealed firearms in specific, sensitive places, such as police stations, mental health facilities, taverns, and more. (AB669/SB619)

  • Loosening the already minimal permitting and training requirements for carrying concealed weapons in WI will make us all less safe.
  • According to a recent report by WAVE and the Center for American Progress (CAP)[viii], since Wisconsin’s law to allow people to carry concealed weapons (CCW) passed nearly a decade ago:
    • Trends in Wisconsin suggest that the passage of the CCW law was associated with a rise in gun homicides.
    • Wisconsin’s CCW law is associated with “an increase in violent gun-related crime.”
    • “Gun theft increased significantly following the enactment of the CCW law” in Wisconsin.
  • In states with loose CCW laws, violent crime rates were 13% to 15% higher than what would have been expected if those laws had not been in place.[ix]
  • Weak concealed carry laws were associated with 11% higher rates of handgun homicides compared to states with stronger permitting systems for carrying concealed weapons.[x]

Bill That Reduces Accountability

6. Limit the civil liability for the entire gun industry, including manufacturers, distributors, importers, trade associations, sellers, and dealers of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. (AB572/SB570)

  • Federal law already severely limits firearm manufacturers and dealers’ liability through the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), and SB570 would go even further to create an additional barrier for Wisconsinites seeking justice.


Learn more about the research supporting lifesaving gun violence prevention bills

[i] Rudolph, K., et al., Association between Connecticut’s Permit-to-Purchase Handgun Law and Homicides, American Journal of Public Health, June 2015.

[ii] Webster, D., et al., Effects of the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law on homicides, Journal of Urban Health, April 2014, 91(2): 293-302.

[iii] https://everytownresearch.org/background-checks-reduce-gun-violence-and-save-lives/

[iv] Marquette University Law School Poll: A Comprehensive Look at the Wisconsin, Marquette Law School, August 2019

[v] Kivisto, Aaron and Peter Lee Phalen, Effects of Risk-based Firearm Seizure Laws in Connecticut and Indiana on Suicide Rates., Psychiatric Services 69, 2018 (8): 855-862.

[vi] Marquette University Law School Poll: A Comprehensive Look at the Wisconsin, Marquette Law School, August 2019

[vii] Krall, Sara, 2020 Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report, End Domestic Abuse WI, September 2021

Learn more about the research linking reckless gun policies with gun violence

[viii] Weigend Vargas, Eugenio and Jeri Bonavia, Concealed Carry Is Linked to Increased Gun Violence in Wisconsin, Center for American Progress, September 2021

[ix] Donohue, J., et al., Right-to-Carry Laws and Violent Crimes: A Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, June 2019, 16(2):198-247

[x] Siegel, M., et al., Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States, American Journal of Public Health, December 17, 107(12):1923-1929

wave20222021 Citizen Virtual Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence

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