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Police chiefs throughout Wisconsin are asking the federal government to reform its gun laws. This week, individuals affiliated with the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association are sharing their concerns with candidates for U.S. Senate, hoping the winner will push to get a more comprehensive criminal background check system.
Doug Pettit is the police chief in a Village of Oregon in Dane County. He says at the moment, individuals who attempt to buy firearms from a federally licensed dealer must pass a criminal check. But that system makes up only about sixty percent of gun sales nationwide. The police chiefs’ association wants the gun background check law to be used and utilized on private gun sales as well.
“Forty percent of firearm purchases in the country are purchased privately, either through a gun show, through a garage sale or person-to-person. And there are not required background checks for the transfer of those weapons in that type of a sale,” Pettit says.
The police chiefs’ association wants the background check law to apply to private gun sales as well.
“It just would simply take a little effort on the buyer and the seller’s part to go to a licensed firearms dealer to have the check run and then pay a small fee to basically process the information,” Pettit.
Pettit says his group is lobbying for other changes, including improvements to the firearm’s criminal background check system. He says some states don’t report as required, or are tardy. The police chiefs also oppose legislation pending in Congress that could make uniform concealed carry standards. Pettit says the group fears a federal law could weaken Wisconsin’s requirements. Concealed carry applicants here must pass a background check and require them to take a course.
“The reason we set standards is so that we are vetting people properly and making sure that the right people have the ability to carry concealed in our state,” Pettit says.
And Wisconsin may toughen its concealed carry requirements. The state Justice Department wants permit applicants to undergo training on several facets of firearm safety. Those include the proper storage and handling of guns and ammunition and instruction on avoiding violent confrontations. Since November, when Wisconsin’s concealed carry law took effect, the state has issued more than 117,000 permits.