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Gun background check legislation supporters disappointed with Legislature


UNDATED (WSAU) -- Background checks for gun buyers is an issue with mixed support. One group believes over 80% of citizens including gun owners and NRA members wants background checks for gun buyers and to eliminate what’s called the gun show loophole.

Jeri Bonovia is the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Anti Violence effort, or WAVE. She says their polling shows huge support for background checks, but the Legislature isn’t moving bills to require these checks.  “Unfortunately, that kind of massive level of citizen support hasn’t translated into action in the Legislature, where it appears that the NRA lobbying organization is having more of a say than the people of the state.”

Bonovia says a study of a Missouri law requiring background checks that was in place and then repealed shows how effective the background checks are.  “The researchers at Johns Hopkins looked at what happened both before and after that law was repealed, and what they found was that there was this dramatic increase in firearm homicides, a 23% increase.”

Bonovia says the researchers from Johns Hopkins found Missouri’s repeal of a background check law showed evidence of more crime, without any change in neighboring states.  “They looked at the states that are around Missouri, and at the country as a whole to see what the trends are with firearm violence, and at the end they felt very confident that they could indeed say that this law had a direct impact on firearm homicides.”

In Wisconsin, Assembly Bill 138 and Senate Bill 124 are buried in committee, and will probably not be voted on before the legislative session ends this month.