LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEAU) – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul is announcing legislation aiming to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. First News at Nine’s Kim Leadholm was in La Crosse where Kaul spoke more about the Legislation and what it would do.
The bill introduced addresses two statutes regarding domestic violence and disorderly conduct. Kaul explains, “We’ve proposed to reorganize the domestic violence statute, as well as the disorderly conduct statute, so that it will make clear when a disorderly conduct conviction is one that results from domestic violence.”
Last year the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that anyone convicted of disorderly conduct would retain their access to firearms. The Court’s ruling was in response to some in Law Enforcement believing the opposite. Kaul says, “Previously when individuals have been convicted of disorderly conduct and the underlying conduct involves domestic violence. We have been able to prevent those individuals from obtaining firearms. Our proposal would separate out the types of conduct that leads to domestic disorderly conduct so that it’s very clear from the conviction whether it involves violence or not.”
Domestic violence is something affecting people across the state, including Western Wisconsin. The Executive Director of New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers, Ann Kappauf, says, “In the last 17 years, in La Crosse and surrounding counties of Trempealeau, Jackson, Monroe and Vernon, 18 victims of domestic abuse have been killed with a gun fired by their abusers. As members of these communities. We need to acknowledge that domestic abuse is not just a couples problem. It’s a community problem.
Kaul adds, “This is about keeping firearms out of the hands of people who have committed a violent crime.
Kaul says before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling, this is how the bill was understood, and with that in mind, he’s optimistic about the future of the bill.
Kaul worked with State Senator Kelda Roys and Representative Lisa Subeck to introduce this legislation. He says he hopes, through bipartisan support, it will move ahead and become State Law.