Bills to strengthen Wisconsin gun laws reintroduced

NOW: Bills to strengthen Wisconsin gun laws reintroduced

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Democratic lawmakers reintroduced a group of bills aimed at strengthening Wisconsin's gun laws, despite rejected efforts in the past.

The three bills reintroduced would implement universal background checks for firearms, extreme risk protection orders (also known as red flag laws) and a sales tax exemption for safe gun storage.

"Inaction is acceptance of the status quo," Attorney General Josh Kaul said at a news conference to announce the bills. "And we are here to say that the status quo on gun violence in Wisconsin and across this country is unacceptable and we need the Legislature to finally step up and take action in this legislative session."

Two of the proposals -- universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders -- have received at least 80% of support from Wisconsin voters, according to Marquette University Law School polling. That includes 74% of support from Republicans for universal background checks and 82% of Republican voter support for red flag laws.

However, the Republican-controlled Legislature has refused to advance the bills in any way in previous sessions.

At the news conference, Senator LaTonya Johnson, a Democrat from Milwaukee, read aloud the names of Milwaukee children killed by gun violence this year, highlighting the issue's impact on the city.

But advocates also drew attention to how the topic of gun violence has an impact beyond the state's urban areas.

That included Jennifer Gaspard, the mother of Henry Teuteberg. The 16-year-old boy was shot and killed by his father in April 2021. The father, a retired Watertown police officer, died of suicide.

"Henry, he was 16 and the sweetest boy you would have ever have met," Gaspard told CBS 58.

Gaspard believes extreme risk protection orders or a red flag law could have saved her son's life had it been in place prior to his death.

"I'm here to advocate for the extreme risk protection order to hopefully save lives," Gaspard said. "Even if it's just one life, it would have made it all worth it."

Gaspard has an online petition for people to support the proposal. A link for that petition can be found here

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