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Oneida Co. lawmakers and law enforcement wary of Evers' backed 'red flag' law proposalSubmitted: 09/20/2019
Story By Stephen Goin

Oneida Co. lawmakers and law enforcement wary of Evers' backed 'red flag' law proposal
ONEIDA COUNTY - Following a summer filled with gun violence including deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, democratic lawmakers in Wisconsin are taking steps to end the epidemic.

Gov. Tony Evers introduced a "red flag" proposal Thursday but Republicans in the state legislature don't see that bill as a viable solution.

A recent Marquette University Law Poll found that 81% of people in Wisconsin would support a Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) like that proposed in the new legislation. Oneida Co. lawmakers and law enforcement officials say the people they represent are not among that majority.

"It's way past time to get something done and do what's right for the people of our state," said Evers. "Each and every day elected officials choose not to take gun violence seriously."

The proposed law would establish an ERPO, giving the family members of "at-risk individuals" and police the power to petition a judge to separate gun owners from their firearms.

Evers said the issue wasn't just about mass shootings, but also personal safety.

"In a state where nearly three of four gun deaths are suicide having an ERPO process could be an important tool," said Evers. 

One local law enforcement official said police already have the tools they need to combat gun violence.

"We already have laws on the books that can protect against someone that the family's thinking that they're going to commit a crime ... they already can come here and report that and we can take appropriate action," said Oneida Co. Sheriff Grady Hartman.

In a tweet, Republican State Sen. Tom Tiffany of Minocqua said "Under my watch, @GovEvers' radical gun confiscation dreams will never become reality."

Last month, Evers introduced universal background check legislation that many Republicans also did not support.

Evers said he'll also consider mandatory assault weapon buybacks, a proposal popular with Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of Texas.


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RHINELANDER - Tuesday, the Oneida County Public Safety Committee approved a large gathering permit for the Hodag Country Festival. Thursday, organizers said they're no longer going to have the festival.

In a message posted on the festival's website, organizers wrote: the safety of the Rhinelander community is more important than the festival.

Adding, "The possibility of having the Hodag Country Festival has created stress and division in the Rhinelander area, and we are sincerely apologetic for this. It was never our intent. The festival has always been about community. We have been here for 43 years, and have always supported the Northwoods area. Hodag hopes we can continue to have your support in the future."

Oneida County Health Dept. head Linda Conlon said her department is thankful for the decision.

"We do appreciate the difficulty of this decision on their part and in this time of uncertainty and it's important that we're all on the same page related to the health and well-being to our community," said Conlon.

Within the next 10 days, organizers wrote they will be emailing and posting instructions to request a refund or rollover for 2021.

Festival organizers wrote that they expect a strong return in 2021 and that their headline act this year, Darius Rucker, will be at Hodag next year. 

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