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Gun seizure protocol in domestic abuse cases gets state panel's OK

MADISON — A legislative committee has approved a bill that would establish a standard process for seizing guns in domestic abuse cases in Wisconsin.

It was one of three gun measures addressed by legislators on Thursday.

The state Senate’s public safety committee passed the measure unanimously, setting up a full Senate vote. The measure passed the state Assembly last week. Senate approval would send the bill on to Gov. Scott Walker.

Wisconsin law requires people to surrender their guns if they’re subject to a domestic abuse injunction but doesn’t spell out how.

The bill from Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, would require the subject of an injunction to fill out a form documenting his or weapons. A judge would hold a hearing to order the person to surrender the weapons. The person would fill out a form requesting the guns’ return when the injunction expires.

Mandatory record checks endorsed

The Senate public safety committee also approved a bill that would require judges to gather police records on someone under an injunction before returning his or her guns.

The proposal by Rep. Jim Ott, R-Mequon, would require judges to request the state Justice Department supply information on whether the person is otherwise prohibited from possessing a gun.

The committee approved the bill on a 5-0 vote. The vote clears the way for a full vote in the Senate. The Assembly approved the bill unanimously earlier this month.

End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association have both registered in support of the bill. The only group registered against it is Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. The group’s website says it opposes all gun control.

Mandatory background checks sought

Democratic lawmakers are calling on Republicans to act on a bill requiring universal background checks for all gun sales in Wisconsin.

Current law requires only background checks for gun buyers from federally licensed dealers. The bill would require background checks would apply to all sales, including gun sales made online and at gun shows.

Sen. Nikiya Harris, D-Milwaukee, said an 18 percent increase in Milwaukee’s homicide rate is one reason to close what she called loopholes in the public safety system. Harris says without universal background checks the state’s current laws preventing felons from possessing guns are meaningless.

Legislators stood behind boxes of 16,500 signatures from Wisconsin residents who support universal background checks. Republicans have not scheduled the bill for a hearing.

From: The Associated Press.