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Wisconsin Democratic legislators introduce bill to close background check loophole

Democratic legislators push for universal background checks

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) - Wisconsin Democratic legislators are introducing a bill to close a background check loophole in Wisconsin. During a news conference in Madison, Gov. Tony Evers said it is time for elected officials to find the courage to do what is right by addressing gun violence. 

Under current law, only licensed gun dealers must conduct background checks when selling a firearm. That means someone could bypass this process by purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller, according to a news release. 

The bill, LRB-3949, would unify the background check process under the Wisconsin Department of Justice for all firearm purchases, including requiring the Wisconsin DOJ to conduct background checks on frames and receivers.

"Addressing gun violence doesn’t have to be a false choice between the 2nd Amendment and keeping our kids and our communities safe— we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and a majority of Wisconsinites agree that no matter what kind of firearm is being purchased or where it’s being purchased from, the process should be the same,” said Evers, in a statement. 

The proposed legislation requires that any firearm sales or transfers (including frames and receivers) must be made through a licensed dealer. A background check is required for all firearm purchases except for some exceptions, including antique firearms, transfers to a family member for a gift, bequest or inheritance, unless the family member is legally not allowed to possess the firearm. 

Other legislators, including State Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) and State Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) said the bill would make communities safer and has support among Wisconsinites. 

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