September 30, 2014

Another push for background checks on gun sales

Activists and Democratic lawmakers push for universal background checks on gun sales. (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Activists and Democratic lawmakers push for universal background checks on gun sales. (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Activists push for universal background checks on the transfer of firearms in Wisconsin.

Currently, background checks are required for people who buy guns from federally-licensed dealers, but not for transactions at gun shows or the Internet.

Representative Terese Berceau is a Madison Democrat. “After Columbine this legislature did nothing; after Virginia Tech we did nothing; after Aurora, Brookfield, and Oak Creek and Tucson this legislature did nothing; now a year after Newtown we have done little.”

The group collected 16,500 signatures from Wisconsinites in support of universal background checks. They were to be delivered to state lawmakers and the governor. A Marquette University Law School Poll shows the majority of Wisconsin residents support universal background checks.

Jeri Bonavia with Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) says polls show the majority of Wisconsinites support background checks.

Jeri Bonavia with Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) says polls show the majority of Wisconsinites support background checks. (PHOTO: Jackie Johnson)

Milwaukee Democrat Evan Goyke, who sits on the Criminal Justice Committee, says people haven’t had a chance to voice their concerns. He says he has repeatedly asked the committee chairman to schedule a hearing on the bill. “Over a year I’ve asked, I’ve written, I’ve begged in person and in writing and I’ve heard no response back,” he says, “We just want a public hearing on Assembly Bill 138.” (The Senate version is SB-124)

Assembly Criminal Justice Committee Chair Joel Kleefisch wasn’t available for comment.

AUDIO: Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney asks lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle to come together on a “common sense bipartisan bill.” 1:33

Opponents say it denies gun owners’ constitutional rights, and determined criminals would just get the guns elsewhere.