Policies to Save Lives

EVIDENCE-BASED GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WISCONSIN

1) Require background checks on all gun sales.  

  • Eight out of ten Wisconsin residents, including gun owners, support a law requiring background checks on all gun sales.[iii]
  • When Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase law, which required a background check prior to purchasing a handgun, firearm homicides in the state soared by 25%. That means an additional 49 to 68 people are murdered every year.[ii]
  • In the 10 years following Connecticut’s passage of its law requiring prospective handgun buyers to first obtain a permit -by passing a criminal background check- firearm homicides declined by 40%.[i]
  • In Wisconsin, federally licensed dealers are required to conduct a background check on all firearm sales, but private sellers are not. This private sale loophole allows just about anyone to buy a gun with no background check, no identification, and no questions asked.

2) Prohibit habitual criminals and those with violent misdemeanor convictions      from purchasing or possessing firearms for 10 years.

  • Research shows the clearest predictor of future violence is past violence. A study found that people who lawfully bought handguns, even though they previously had been convicted of two or more violent misdemeanors, were 15 times as likely as handgun purchasers with no criminal history to later be arrested for murder, rape, robbery or aggravated assault.[i]

3) Create a mechanism that allows for the temporary removal of guns when individuals are at high risk of harming themselves or others.

  • Often after a horrible tragedy, such as a mass shooting or a suicide, family members will report they saw clear warning signs, but there was nothing they could do.
  • The creation of a Lethal Violence Protective Order would give family members and law enforcement officers the means to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit a person from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

4) Reinstate the 48-hour waiting period for handgun sales.

  • Evidence presented in The American Journal of Public Health demonstrates that waiting periods are an effective means of reducing gun suicide. States with a waiting period for handgun sales had 51% fewer firearm suicides per capita.[ii]
  • That same study found, “In 11 states with waiting periods, the longer the waiting period, the lower the gun suicide rate.” [iii]
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