On first anniversary of Parkland shooting, Wisconsin activists call for red flag law
MADISON, Wis. — Gun violence prevention activists advocated for stricter laws in Wisconsin on Thursday, which marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida.
Volunteers and members of the grassroots group Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, or WAVE Educational Fund, spread out throughout the Wisconsin state Capitol and delivered petitions to state lawmakers’ offices. The petitions contained thousands of signatures from people around the state who wanted legislators to pass what’s known as a red flag law.
“It has nothing to do with not owning firearms, but it has everything to do with making sure people who are showing signs that they will not be responsible in their ownership are not allowed to harm others,” said Jim Nosal, one of the volunteers.
Democratic Rep. Melissa Sargent is drafting a bill that would have a red flag law. Her office not could not offer specifics on the bill but said it would have similar language to a measure she proposed in 2017.
The previous bill would have allowed a court to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting a person from possessing a firearm if the court believed that person would hurt himself, herself or someone else. Before filing that restraining order, the court would need to have received a petition from a law enforcement officer or family member.
Nosal’s daughter Caroline was shot and killed by her former coworker in 2016 at the Metro Market on Cottage Grove Road in Madison.
“Almost every day we’re reminded that another family is going through the living hell that we go through — that my daughter is forever a 24-year-old, and I’ll never get to see the things that she could have done,” Nosal said.
His daughter would have turned 28 this year, and he’s pushing for stricter gun laws to honor her memory, including a red flag law.
Christopher O’Kroley was convicted of shooting Caroline Nosal and died at the Waupun Correctional Institution. O’Kroley had been accused of sexual assault right before he killed her.
“A law where someone has been accused of a crime like this and would not be allowed to buy a firearm I think would have saved my daughter’s life,” Nosal said.
News 3 Now previously reported that O’Kroley’s former girlfriend believed he had untreated mental health issues. Under the proposal, O’Kroley’s former girlfriend or a law enforcement would have had to petition a judge that he was a danger to himself or others in order for his firearms to have been taken away.
Rep. John Spiros, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, said he would need to see the bill language before deciding his stance on the red flag law, which was first proposed by Attorney General Josh Kaul in his inauguration speech.
“When you look at administration and you look at new people coming in, I think we all say a lot of things, and does it transpire into something? A lot is going to be: What bill to we have? Who’s going to draft it? And what it looks like when it comes through,” Spiros said.
He said he will need to take laws already on the books into consideration when looking at the new bill.
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