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Bill proposed to deal with weapon surrenders in domestic violence cases

MADISON, Wis. (WXPR) -- A bill authored by state Assembly Republicans would establish a clear method for people served with domestic violence injunctions to surrender their weapons.

Current law requires people to surrender their weapons if an injunction is approved by a judge, but the method to do the surrender has been ambiguous. Shellie Holmes from Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault based in Rhinelander says a law about surrendering guns in domestic violence situations has been on the books for decades, but often it hasn't been fully enforced. She says state officials have become concerned. "We're seeing more and more firearms used in domestic violence homicides. We need to get the firearms out of the hands of the bad guys. Sorry, that's just the way it is." A judge would hold a hearing within a week to order the person to surrender their firearms. Holmes says the sheriff or someone designated could hold the weapons for the person until the injunction is over, which could range from six months to four years.

Holmes says a four-county pilot program has proven effective. She says the law also is designed to not go against the Second Amendment. "At the end of the injunction, people can get their guns back. There is not an electronic record kept of that, so this is not about gun registration. There is an electronic check to make sure the gun is not stolen, but there are no electronic records kept, that is a part of the law." With the legislature to wrap up it's spring session in April, it's uncertain if the bill will make it through both chambers, but Republicans are said to be fast-tracking the bill.

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