(MADISON) – In response to the horrific recent shootings in Brookfield, Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton) have renewed work on a bill to create a statewide surrender of firearms in for perpetrators of domestic violence. The bill, last introduced as 2009 AB 559 and SB 381, was the product of collaborative work with the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and statewide law enforcement groups.  Current law provides for the surrender of weapons, but loopholes allow some violent offenders to keep their firearms.

“Sunday’s tragic incident in Brookfield points to a need to adequately enforce laws already on the books.  Across Wisconsin there are inconsistent standards, or sometimes none at all, for the collection of weapons owned by domestic abusers.  Wisconsin needs one standardized system to help ensure that victims are safe from senseless violence.  I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans, victim’s advocates and gun-rights advocates to realize the need for this legislation,” Senator Taylor commented.

The bill requires surrender of firearms possessed by a person under a restraining order and an injunction by a court in cases of domestic violence.  Under the proposed law, failure to surrender firearms within 48 hours would result in the issuing a warrant for the offender’s arrest.  The bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote in 2010 and enjoyed bipartisan support.  The bill was supported by WCADV, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association, the Wisconsin Sheriff & Deputy Sheriff’s Association, and the State Bar of Wisconsin.

“It deeply saddens me to see senseless acts of violence in Wisconsin. It is our duty to help protect the victims of domestic abuse and make sure that they are safe from violence,” said Representative Bernard Schaber. “I was proud to work with Senator Taylor, colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with interested groups in 2009 on crafting AB 559. I hope to continue this work and do what I can to make sure that victims are adequately protected here in Wisconsin.”

Sen. Taylor and Rep. Bernard Schaber plan to reintroduce their bills at the onset of the 2013 legislative session.  Both legislators hope for fruitful conversations with concerned groups in order to reach an agreement and compromise beneficial to all Wisconsinites. 

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