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Wisconsin Already has a "Red Flag Law"

People who have mental health issues that put them at risk of harming themselves or others should not own a gun. Here in Wisconsin, Chapter 51 of the state statutes deal with these types of mental health issues, including prohibiting firearms from those who have been found to be suffering from mental health issues.

It is important to note the “due process” that Chapter 51 requires. A mental health review is performed first by mental health professionals, and only then, may the court order commitment and treatment, and may also order law enforcement to confiscate any weapons in their possession.

Red flag laws act in the opposite order. The guns are removed and then there is a court hearing allowing plenty of room for abuse without due process. Who would commit abuse? Perhaps ex-spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, angry co-workers, family, or certainly anyone who would want to put you at a disadvantage if they wanted to harm you.

The current Chapter 51, or mental health laws, allow for treatment prior to taking away an individual’s second amendment rights. Let’s continue to place rights above the accused as we live in a country that presumes innocence until proven guilty, or until professionals find you in need of mental health services.

Wisconsin Already has "Background Checks"

Background checks for gun purchases already exist. Many times people demand universal background checks, so let’s talk about the existing background checks currently used in Wisconsin.

After the attempted assassination on President Reagan, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or (NICS) was established for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL). FFL's allow companies such as Walmart and Cabela's to sell guns and ammunition. FFL's are audited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) at least once every three years. The NICS system is designed to respond instantly to background check inquiries so FFL’s receive an almost immediate response. Since 1993, over 3 million felons, abusers and other dangerous people have been prevented from purchasing guns.

The NICS system uses three databases for gun purchases: the National Crime Information Center, the Interstate Identification Index, and the NICS index. Additionally, U.S. Customs and Immigration databases are reviewed. In 2016, the Federal Health and Human Services Department ruled to modify HIPPA by expressly allowing state agencies to submit mental health records to NICS, which ensures that the submissions do not violate federal privacy laws.

Wisconsin also acts as a Point of Sale (POS) contact for handgun purchases. The state conducts an additional background check AND consults with all of the indexes used with a federal NICS check when guns are purchased from a licensed dealer.

Our Safety Hinges on Prosecuting Criminals, not Law-Abiding Citizens

While mainstream media seems to be solely focused on incidents of multiple shootings around the country, Chicago has had 1,800 people shot this year, and Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Gun crime in Milwaukee and Madison is becoming increasingly dangerous as well. In my colleague Rep. Joe Sanfelippo’s piece, “The Hypocrisy of Gun Control,” he points out that only 25% of felons arrested in Milwaukee for illegally carrying a gun are actually charged with the crime.

We have enough gun laws; let's enforce the ones we already have.


Representative Janel Brandtjen
State Capitol, Room 12 West
PO Box 8952
Madison, WI 53708

Toll-Free (888) 534-0022 or (608) 267-2367 | |