“My parents were both in the U.S. Air Force. My father loved guns. My mother hated guns. From an early age, I felt the tension and emotion between people who disagree on firearms. From my Dad, I learned a love of the shooting sports. From my mother, I learned the multigenerational effects of gun violence.

My record in the Senate reflects my personal experiences in finding common ground. If we, as a society, are not willing to work with those with whom we disagree to accomplish something, we will accomplish nothing. And, we will continue to grow farther apart.” -Kathleen Vinehout


My mother hated guns because her father died through gun violence. My father loved guns and collected them. In his retirement, he ran a small business fixing other people’s firearms.

From my mother, I learned fear of a gun in the hands of those with some type of mental illness or those with criminal intent. I understood the multi-generational effects of gun violence, the struggles of those with suicidal intent and the horror, confusion and guilt of those left behind.

From my father, I learned a love of the shooting sports. I understood those who study the history and mechanisms of firearms, those who thrill at perfecting marksmanship skills.

From an early age, I felt the tension between preventing gun violence and protecting gun ownership. My experience in the Senate reflects my personal experiences. I’ve taken a balanced approach to voting on gun related legislation. I’ve worked across the aisle to protect women suffering from domestic violence. I support a person’s defense of their home under clear threat but not Florida style – “Stand Your Ground” legislation. I support conceal and carry but not Constitutional – or Permit-less – Carry. I don’t support expanding Conceal and Carry to schools or universities. I oppose arming teachers in schools. I support universal background checks including for private sales.

I have a history of voting against legislation that would take authority away from local governments. What works in Milwaukee may not work in Mondovi.


Frequently Asked Questions

Donation from the NRA?

Seven days before the 2014 election, an unsolicited check for $500 from the NRA was received by Voters for Vinehout and the campaign used those funds the same way it used all the other contributions it received from donors.

During my time in the Senate, I voted both for and against the NRA, just as I have with legislation supported, or not, by hundreds of other groups. As Senator, I voted on the merits of each bill as I see them, regardless of who is supporting and who is opposing.

I differ from the NRA’s recent positions on these issues:  

extending background checks to cover all gun sales, including between individuals;

banning devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons;

arming teachers and allowing guns in schools and universities;

conceal carry without a permit;

“stand your ground” laws;

pre-empting local ordinances.


Thoughts on Gun Control Debate and your recent votes in the Senate?

In a world where absolutes drive us further apart, the path to conversation and resolution is narrow and thorny. If we want to make progress on this or any divisive issue, we need to identify and push for those things where progress can be made while we continue to grapple with those things that will not immediately be successful.

Solutions lie not in slogans and verbal attacks on those who disagree, but in dialogue and working through the specifics of how any law might work and accomplish the goals we all seek – the reduction of violence by perpetrators and the suffering of victims and their families.

Part of our approach has to include strengthening community based mental health programs and restoring the supports for troubled students that have been cut in many of our school districts. The pervasiveness of wanton and graphic violence in popular culture may reduce internal restraints of some. The root causes of violence –like bullying, racism, poverty, and mental illness – have to be acknowledged and addressed.

The solutions to these challenges are as complex as the problems.


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