GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels refused to even touch the subject of gun reform when asked by CBS 58, but in a recent radio appearance on the Vicki McKenna Show, he voiced his opposition to red flag laws and efforts to curtail gun violence overall in Wisconsin.
Red flag laws allow family, friends, or law enforcement to go through a process to prevent an individual that poses a threat to themselves or others from accessing their firearm temporarily – this includes situations where the person may be going through a mental health crisis. A July 2022 poll by Marquette Law School shows that 80 percent of Wisconsinites support legislation of this kind.
When McKenna asked Michels if he would support red flag laws, Michels said the following: “Red flag laws, you know, people are entitled to due process. You just can’t have somebody make a complaint against you… You’re right, your Second Amendment right [might] be taken away. Now, that won’t happen here in Wisconsin, when I’m Governor.”
Recently, Michels said that he “did not have an answer” on expanding background checks. He has, however, voiced his opposition to assault weapon bans and the bipartisan gun gun reform passed in the US Congress and signed by President Biden, which includes a measure that makes it harder for domestic abusers to buy guns. Conversely, Michels has pledged to lift firearm restrictions.
“Tim Michels is desperately pandering to the NRA and gun lobby instead of working to make our communities safer. He continues to make it clear that he is against even the most common sense gun safety measures,” said Hannah Menchhoff, Rapid Response Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Menchhoff’s comment is most likely a reference to Michels attempting to fake an endorsement from the National Rifle Association, among other things.
“We now know he is against red flag laws,” she said. “In a Michels administration, dangerous legislation like the Republican-backed measure to allow loaded guns on school grounds and permitless carry could become law.”
With the August 9th primaries coming up, Michels is currently the top pick for the GOP nomination. According to a Marquette Law School poll, “Tim Michels is the choice of 27 percent of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) and independents who say they will vote in the GOP primary for governor.”
Among Michels other extreme positions, the candidate agrees with the 1849 abortion ban and its lack of exceptions for cases of incest or rape, saying it is “not unreasonable” for the government to force rape victims to give birth. Michels also opposes marriage equality, believing that LGBTQ people should not “bring it out of [the] house,” so despite his vows to protect constitutional rights, Michels supports an amendment to ban gay marriage.
Should Michels secure the party nomination, he will be facing off against Democratic incumbent Tony Evers for the role of governor. Evers is a proponent of red flag laws and has already vetoed legislation that would loosen gun regulations, including a provision to allow loaded guns on school grounds, a bill that could be signed under a Michels administration.
Menchhoff has described Michels as “too radical for Wisconsin and out of step with the concerns of Wisconsinites.” She has voiced her advocacy for Evers, saying, “While Republicans continue to divide their party and our state, Governor Evers is focused on bringing people together and solving the problems that matter most to Wisconsinites.”