Salon shooting

Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers want to re-introduce a bill on gun control

CREATED Oct. 23, 2012

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  • Jesse Ritka reports Video by wtmj.com

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MILWAUKEE- Milwaukee Representative Jon Richards is already working on a law to stop private gun sales to anyone with a restraining order against them.

"We need to close the loopholes that allow domestic abusers like Radcliffe Haughton to get guns, to commit horrific acts of violence.  Whenever you have a domestic abuser and guns together, that's a lethal combination and we need to make sure we're protecting victims," he tells TODAY'S TMJ4's Jesse Ritka.

Rep. Richards' bill would also allow police to confiscate weapons at the scene of domestic violence and allow law enforcement and the courts to know if a person convicted of domestic abuse has a concealed weapons permit.  But he's not the only one who wants to change laws to protect victims of domestic violence.

State Senator Lena Taylor and state Representative Penny Bernard Schaber plan to reintroduce a bill that didn't pass in 2009 to try and keep weapons away from abusers.  "I believe that this particular incident screams to us to stand up and to do what is right," Sen. Taylor tells Ritka.

The current law requires firearms to be surrendered if a judge issues a restraining order, Milwaukee County Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers explains, "They're not allowed to possess firearms and they must surrender them to a law enforcement officer, sheriff within 48 hours, and secondly if they were to possess firearm while the restraining order is still in effect, they would be subject to additional criminal penalties."

But turning in the guns is on the "honor system," there is not a state encompassing system assigning someone to hold abusers accountable.

That's where Sen. Taylor says her bill comes in, if a person doesn't surrender all their firearms within 48 hours of a restraining order being implemented, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.  "The reality is if that warrant is there and law enforcement feels strongly enough about it, they'd go out looking for that individual because certain circumstances rise to the top as urgent," Sen. Taylor explains.

But even if the bill passed in 2009, it may not have prevented the killing spree at the spa.  "We shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that that is going to be a panacea and prevent all acts of domestic violence, I wish it were that simple, but it's simply not.  Somebody who is absolutely intent on getting a firearm, using a firearm is probably going to do that and these procedures or any procedures I can think of are not going to stop somebody like that."

Senator Taylor and Representative Bernard Schaber cannot even reintroduce the bills until January 7, 2013.