Democratic lawmakers renew push for bills on expanded background checks, red flag laws for gun owners

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul joined several Democratic lawmakers to unveil two new bills targeting background checks and wellness checks for gun owners in the state.

The first of the two bills would expand background checks for potential gun owners to places like gun shows and other sales not currently covered.

The second bill would create a “red flag law” for Wisconsin, which could give a judge authority to take a weapon from someone should they be proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

Two nearly identical bills were drafted in 2019 and backed by Governor Tony Evers. However Republican lawmakers gaveled in and out of a special session drafted to hear them.

This is a concrete step that we can take to make our communities safer,” Kaul said. “To work to prevent violence in our communities.”

17 states have adopted similar bills into law, with another 20 currently hearing legislation.

In 2019, a Marquette Law School poll showed nearly 80 percent of Wisconsin voters were in favor of increased background checks.

The bill won’t end the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment,” said Sen Lena Taylor, a Democrat from Milwaukee said of the Red Flag Bill. “But it does have the ability to unite the hands and strengthen the hands of family members, coworkers, or law enforcement who feel an individual is presenting behaviors that may put them at risk.”

It’s not a liberal piece of legislation or conservative piece of legislation,” Johnson said. “It’s not a Republican or Democrat piece of legislation. It’s legislation for the people to save lives. That’s something we have to do.”