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Wisconsin attorney general announces gun control legislation targeting domestic violence offenders

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//November 14, 2023//

Gun control

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Wisconsin attorney general announces gun control legislation targeting domestic violence offenders

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//November 14, 2023//

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Three Wisconsin Democrats are pushing to keep guns out of the hands of those who were convicted for violent offenses related to domestic violence.

On Monday, Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, State Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) and state Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) unveiled a new measure targeting individuals previously convicted of violent offenses related to domestic violence. Under the new legislation, those individuals would be unable to legally purchase or possess firearms in Wisconsin.

According to a copy of the measure obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal, the proposed legislation retools two existing Wisconsin statutes — 947.01 (1) and 968.075 (1) (a) and creates new statutes e 947.01 (1) (a) and 968.075 (1) (f).

The statutes focus on the crime of disorderly conduct and the definition of domestic abuse, so individuals convicted of disorderly conduct as a result of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing a firearm in Wisconsin.

“One simple, common-sense way to prevent crime and keep Wisconsinites safe is to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who have committed a violent crime,” said Kaul.

“Wisconsin law needs to be updated so that when individuals are convicted of disorderly conduct involving domestic violence, they will be prohibited from possessing firearms,” Kaul added.

Legislators agreed with Wisconsin’s attorney general.

“Victims of domestic violence deserve the protection of the law — and Wisconsin is leaving them behind,” said Roys.

According to Roys, one in every six domestic violence deaths in the U.S. happened in Wisconsin.

Roys also noted earlier in November, Wisconsin reached a record 22-year high for domestic violence deaths.

“Today, we are introducing legislation to ensure that more victims of domestic violence can become survivors. This bill makes Wisconsin a safer place for people to live, work and thrive,” Roys added.

Subeck agreed.

According to Subeck, a victim of domestic violence is five times more likely to be killed if his or her abuser has access to a gun.

“Yet a loophole in Wisconsin law allows perpetrators convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence continued access to firearms,” said Subeck.

“We can close this loophole, making our communities and families safer by keeping guns out of the hands from dangerous individuals with a history of violent behavior,” Subeck added.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the new legislation was introduced in the wake of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in the 2022 case Doubek v. Kaul.

The court held disorderly conduct is not a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence under federal law, thus does not disqualify an individual from legally purchasing a firearm or obtaining a license to carry a concealed weapon.

If passed by both chambers and signed by the governor, the measure would separate Wisconsin’s disorderly conduct statute so “violent” conduct is distinct in comparison to other types of disorderly conduct.

In other words, the court record would then clearly indicate if a crime committed in Wisconsin was a violent crime.

The bill also changes current Wisconsin statutes that define domestic abuse.

Under the language of the proposed legislation, “the court record would indicate the exact nature of the relationship between those involved,” officials said.

Pursuant to federal law, a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm if he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. Pursuant to Wisconsin statutes, a person prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal or state law also may not purchase a firearm or be issued a license to carry a concealed weapon.

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