MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bipartisan bill expected to get a speedy hearing at the state Capitol would better verify whether domestic and child abusers covered by restraining orders have guns in their possession.
Republican Rep. Garey Bies is circulating legislation that would require perpetrators who are under a permanent injunction to fill out a form listing the make, model and serial number of any guns they owned. If guns are not surrendered within 48 hours, the perpetrator must attend another hearing or face arrest.
In many Wisconsin counties, judges don’t know if domestic abusers own guns, and often there is no follow-up or penalty if the abuser ignores a court order to surrender firearms.
“When people are in a situation where they are supposed to turn their guns in, we will make sure it’s done,” said Bies, the former chief deputy sheriff in Door County. “That way, if something arises, they won’t have easy access to a weapon. They will have to work harder to find one, and maybe by then they will have calmed down a little bit. That’s the goal: To take away the heat-of-passion type situations.”
State legislators made reforming domestic violence laws a priority following a shooting at the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield last October. The legislation likely would not have stopped Radcliffe Haughton from killing his estranged wife, Zina, and two of her co-workers at Azana and wounding four others before committing suicide. Nothing in the bill makes it illegal to sell a gun to someone who is the subject of a restraining order, the Journal Sentinel reported.
When a Milwaukee County court commissioner granted a restraining order against Haughton three days before the shooting, he did not have any guns. But he purchased one from an online dealer within 48 hours of leaving court.
The legislation could come up for a vote in the Assembly by the end of the year.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com