Speaking at a law enforcement roundtable in Madison this week, Attorney General Josh Kaul called for stricter gun control measures in Wisconsin. Pointing to the Dept. of Justice’s firearm background check system, Kaul said that although the system is “really good,” it still has shortcomings. “The problem is we’ve got this loophole in the system for certain sales — it includes private sales — and so literally if somebody’s selling a gun out of their trunk, you know, law enforcement can’t intervene unless they have a specific reason to know there’s a crime there,” Kaul said. He also mentioned so-called “ghost guns” as being another loophole in the system because they are typically assembled by the buyer and lack a serial number.
Emergency detention, the practice in which law enforcement take a person into custody who is at risk of harming themselves or others, was another issue raised at the roundtable. The law allows police to detain a person at a mental health facility for assessment for up to 72 hours. Kaul said a red flag law would give law enforcement another tool to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and would be a less extreme step than emergency detention, which requires significant time and resources to enforce. Red flag laws allow police to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who they believe may present a danger to others or themselves.
Responding to Kaul’s push for additional gun control measures, Republican candidate for AG Erik Toney told WisPolitics.com that “Wisconsin already has a law on the books that guarantees due process rights for firearm restrictions based on dangerousness and a treatable mental illness.” Toney went on to say that “there is a mental health crisis and we can’t legislate our way to safety on this issue. Those proposed restrictions impede law-abiding citizens their constitutional right to exercise the Second Amendment while felons and dangerous criminals don’t care what the law says.”