By Gretchen Schuldt
Guns are on the agenda for the state Legislature, with Democratic proposals for a new "red flag" law and tightened restrictions on firearm transfers pending.
A chart showing the sponsors of the bills is at the bottom of this post.
SB352/AB350 – Red flag bill
People found dangerous by a court could be banned from possessing guns, under a bill pending in the Legislature. The latest version of a proposed "red flag law" would create an "extreme risk" category of temporary restraining order and injunction prohibiting a person from having a firearm.
Under the proposal, a member of law enforcement or a member of the person's family or household could ask a court to file the injunction. The petition would have to show that the person at issue is substantially likely to hurt themselves or others if the person possesses a firearm.
The requester also would be able to ask the court to first issue a temporary restraining order (TRO). The petitioner would be required to include evidence that there is an immediate and present danger of harm to the person or to another if the person possesses a firearm. If a TRO, which could be issued based on testimony or affidavits, is granted, the judge must hold a hearing on the full injunction within 14 days of issuing the TRO.
A full injunction, if granted, would be valid for up to a year and could be renewed. The firearms could not be returned until a the TRO or injunction expires or is vacated.
Possession of a firearm in defiance of a TRO or injunction would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Lying in a request for a TRO or injunction would be punishable by six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Registering in favor of the bill thus far are Children's Hospital of Wisconsin; End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin: the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter; WAVE Educational Fund; and Wisconsin Council of Churches.
Registering in opposition are Wisconsin Firearm Owners Inc. and Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc.
"Trumps due process and opens the door to abuse by disgruntled persons seeking to use law enforcement as a weapon," the Gun Owners said in a position statement, the only one filed thus far.
SB372/AB368 – Gun transfer restrictions
Only federally licensed firearms dealers would be allowed, with a few exceptions, to complete a transfer of firearms, under this bill.
Currently, federally licensed firearms dealers may not transfer handguns until the dealer completes a background check on the person receiving the gun.
The bill would require most transfers of any type of firearm to go through licensed dealers. It also would require background checks of the transferees.
Exemptions to the proposed requirements would be transfers to a firearms dealer; law enforcement or armed services agencies; transfers of guns classified as antiques; and transfers by gift or inheritance to a family member.
Violations would be considered misdemeanors and be punishable by fines of $500 to $10,000 and up to nine months of incarceration. Offenders also could be prohibited from possessing guns for up to two years.
Registering in favor of the bill are Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, WAVE Educational Fund, and Wisconsin Council of Churches. Registering in opposition are Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Firearm Owners Inc. and Wisconsin Gun Owners Inc.
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