AG Kaul, Dem Lawmakers Push New Gun Laws
Say GOP legislators should pass expanded background checks, 'Red Flag' law.
Attorney General Josh Kaul and Democratic state lawmakers are renewing their push for changes to Wisconsin gun laws in the wake of recent mass shootings across the country.
During a Thursday press conference, Kaul and lawmakers called on the GOP-controlled state Legislature to approve measures in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget proposal that would expand background checks on gun sales and allow courts to block some people from buying firearms.
“Going to a grocery store, to work, a place of worship, a playground, it shouldn’t cause or create anxiety or fear for one’s safety,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to worry about dropping our kids off at school concerned that the next mass shooting might be occurring right there.”
Under the governor’s background check proposal, which is sometimes called a “universal background check” measure, all firearm sales in Wisconsin would be subject to background checks. Right now, people who buy guns online don’t need to pass a check.
Kaul said the “vast majority” of gun purchases in Wisconsin are done in places like gun stores, where background checks are required. His agency, the state Department of Justice, oversees many of those checks. Despite the small number, he argued that allowing a path to get around a background check compromises public safety.
“This is something that cannot wait,” he said. “If this budget isn’t the right time, when is the right time?”
Another part of the governor’s proposal would enact a so-called “red flag law” in Wisconsin, which would allow law enforcement or someone’s family or friends to petition a judge to temporarily revoke that person’s right to buy, own or carry weapons.
“This is a crisis, and it’s a crisis of enormous magnitude,” said Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, who has also advocated for gun law changes in the Capitol for years. “It’s time that we do our part to protect the citizens of Wisconsin.”
Republican legislative leaders have consistently pushed back on the universal background check and red flag law proposals in the past, saying they violate Second Amendment and due process rights. They have argued investments in mental health treatment are a better way to prevent gun violence.
Attorney General Josh Kaul, Democratic Lawmakers Renew Push For Gun Law Changes was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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