‘Red Flag’ demonstration draws counter-protesters at Capitol

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MADISON (WKOW) – Wisconsin’s new administration is wrapping up its first full week, getting ready to set priorities in office.

At the inauguration Monday, Attorney General Josh Kaul focused on gun control, proposing a “red flag” law that would let police take away someone’s guns if there are concerns over safety.

Not everyone agrees with these laws, however, and a group of demonstrators stood atop the Capitol steps Saturday to make their dissenting voices heard.

“A red flag law would allow individuals or police officers to request a firearm confiscation… before you commit a crime,” said Joshua Thieme of 3% United Patriots.

The protest was organized primarily by the Wisconsin Patriots Alliance. Its members say the proposed law, which others say could increase gun safety, violates the Constitution and strips people of their rights.

“There’s not a lot of due process there and that’s the thing that we oppose — taking away someone’s gun rights just because you disagree with them,” said Thomas Leager, of the Wisconsin Patriots Alliance.

Across the street from the Capitol, other protesters came together saying the gun activists represented something much bigger.

“I think some of them are trying to put forward a mainstream message and then underneath it they have the much more devious message,” said Scot McCullough, a counter-protester and member of the International Socialist Organization.

Linda Kessel helped organize the counter-protest.

“We are a group that wants to let people know that there is no hate in Madison,” she said.

Despite being a counter-protest, their signs and chants had little to do with gun laws.

“Gun rights is certainly a thing that lots of people have thoughts and opinions on,” McCullough said. “But our focus today is to stop the rise of Fascism.”

McCullough and Kessel also said they weren’t familiar with the proposed “red flag” legislation.

Kessel said she didn’t think common ground could be found between the two groups.

“Our stances are so diametrically opposed that I don’t think that we’re going to come to a common understanding by talking to each other,” she said.

While there wasn’t any talking, there was shouting as counter-protesters worked their way slowly up a portion of the Capitol steps. Despite that, Madison police say there were no arrests and both protests ended peacefully.

Governor Evers has said he would support a “red flag” law if lawmakers got on board.

Republican leaders have said they’re open to the idea, but like the protesters Saturday, they’re concerned about the rights of gun owners.

Courtney Terlecki

Courtney Terlecki

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