Policies to Save Lives

Overwhelmingly, Wisconsinites – from every part of the state – support commonsense gun violence prevention policies.

The following laws would help prevent gun violence in Wisconsin:

Require background checks on all gun sales.

  • 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 sell a gun with no background check, no identification, and no questions asked.  Between 80% and 90% of Wisconsinites, including gun owners, support background checks on all gun sales. 
  • In the 10 years following Connecticut’s passage of its law requiring prospective handgun buyers to first get a permit – by passing a criminal background check – firearm homicides declined by 40%.[1]

Create a mechanism that allows for the temporary removal of guns when individuals are in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.

  • Often after a horrible act of violence, families say they saw warning signs – red flags – but there was nothing they could do.
  • An Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) gives families and law enforcement officers a way to ask a judge to temporarily prohibit an at-risk person from possessing a gun. The ERPO is a non-criminal process that involves a court hearing, as well as clearly defined due process protections.
  • When our loved ones are in crisis, they should have access to quality care, not guns.

Prohibit those with violent misdemeanor convictions from possessing firearms for 10 years. 

  • In Wisconsin, people with a long history of violence, such as assault and battery, can still buy guns.
  • Research shows that one of the strongest predictors of future violence is past violence. A study found that people who lawfully bought guns after being convicted of two or more violent misdemeanors were 15 times as likely to later be arrested for murder, rape or aggravated assault.[2]

[1] Rudolph, K., et al, “Association between Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase handgun law and homicides,” American Journal of Public Health, June 2015.

[2] Wintemute, G., et al, “Prior Misdemeanor Convictions as a Risk Factor for Later Violent and Firearm-Related Criminal Activity among Authorized Purchasers of Handguns,” JAMA, 1998.

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