RHINELANDER - Thirty three days ago, 20 children and six adults were shot at an elementary school in Connecticut. Today, President Obama gives us the strictest gun control proposals since the 1960s.
The President signed 23 executive actions that will take effect immediately. And he asked Congress to act on a few measures that are sure to cause some division.
Five of the executive actions related to universal background checks, and the kind of information that will be available for them. One order called for emergency preparation in schools. Another was a commitment to better mental health care.
But the President said these orders are not a substitute for action by Congress.
"I'm calling on Congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. First, it's time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun," says President Obama.
Oneida County Republican chairman Andy Laduha told us today he strongly supports universal background checks
That's not surprising since a recent Republican poll shows 80% of gun owners- and 74% of NRA members support this measure.
The executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort was on Vice-President Biden's task force. She says having better background checks was the number one recommendation her group made.
"These proposals, particularly the background checks on all gun sales have really strong support from gun owners, which is obviously very heartening. Because it's very good to know that it's both non-gun owners and gun owners as well who are supportive of solutions to gun violence," says Jeri Bonavia.
Bonavia says given the amount of support the universal background checks proposal has, she doesn't think it'll have a problem passing through Congress.
But another measure the President asked them to consider will prove more difficult.
"Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a ten round limit for magazines," says President Obama.
Critics of limiting magazines to ten rounds say they could do as much damage with multiple magazines, as someone with a high capacity one.
But Bonavia says the time in-between reloading could be crucial.
"In that regard if you're adding seconds, or a minute, it turns out that has probably been quite lifesaving in these situations that have already occurred," says Bonavia.
Oneida County Republican Chairman Andy Laduha says he doesn't think banning the weapons or magazines gets to the root of the problem. He says the people who shouldn't own them are still able to get their hands on them-- hat's why he supports the universal background checks.
The NRA released a statement today saying:
"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation.
Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
THREE LAKES - The DNR hopes it won't find more Northwoods deer with chronic wasting disease.
Last year, a deer on a game farm near Three Lakes tested positive for the deadly disease. Although it hopes that incident is isolated, the DNR wants more data on the health of the Northwoods deer herd.
The agency is urging hunters near Three Lakes to give their deer heads to the DNR for CWD testing.
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