GOP lawmaker calls for Wisconsin citizens to ‘stand up and fight back’ after East Towne shooting

Wisconsin legislator releases controversial statement after East Towne Mall shooting

A Republican Wisconsin lawmaker released a controversial statement on the heels of a shooting at East Towne Mall Saturday.

Rep. Bob Gannon, R-West Bend, Gannon said in the release he doesn’t feel safe in malls or on university campuses, despite extra security, and calls gun-free zone signs “the universal symbol that is now referred to as a ‘target rich environment.'”

The statement advocates for the passage of Assembly Bill 363, which would allow students, faculty and visitors with conceal carry permits to have guns at UW-System schools.

“Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scum bags,” the statement said. “A gang banger in the mall with a gun is going to think twice if there could be a law abiding CCW holder standing behind them fully prepared to shoot center mass, as this is how you’re trained to eliminate the threat these creeps pose to you, your family, and all law abiding citizens unwillingly dragged into their public crime spree.”

State Democrats swiftly denounced the statement, saying Gannon’s rhetoric is “dangerous.”

“The incident at East Towne Mall was scary, but the answer is not to add more people with guns to the mix, and certainly not to call for private citizens to ‘shoot center mass,'” Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, said in a statement Monday. “Representative Gannon is living in a James Bond dream world. If more guns made us safer, we would be the safest country in the world.”

In her statement, Taylor cites a Stanford University study that links conceal carry laws to an increase in violent crime. 

Police said Saturday’s shooting at East Towne Mall stemmed from a disturbance between a few young men, resulting in at least one round being fired.

A 19-year-old was hit in the leg by a bullet during the incident and was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Police are still looking for a suspect in the shooting. Anyone with information on the gunman is urged to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 266-6014.