Proponents of a package of four bills in Wisconsin say they aim to keep guns out of the hands of children who shouldn’t have access to them, but critics say the legislation would only make guns inaccessible and criminalize gun owners, according to this story from the Badger Herald.
“This package of bills looks at how do we keep people safe…and how do we, in order to do that, keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), author of the proposals.
The first proposal in the package requires owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours of when they realize they are missing.
The second requires sellers to provide lockable containers or trigger locks for guns.
The third requires gun owners to store guns in locked containers if a person who cannot legally possess a firearm lives in the residence.
The fourth requires locked containers or locking devices if a child is living or present in the home.
“This is an issue, and it’s an issue that’s 100 percent preventable,” Subeck said in the story. “If guns are stored either with trigger locks or in a safe where children do not have access to them, we can prevent these kinds of tragedies.”
But Jeff Nass, executive director of Wisconsin Firearm Owners, Ranges, Clubs and Educators, pointed out in the story that keeping a gun locked up runs counter to the inherent purpose of having a home- or self-defense firearm, when access at a moment’s notice is critical.
Nass said the best way to protect children is to allow gun owners to store their guns in the best way for them, which would be out of the reach of children while still be quickly accessible in case the gun is needed for self defense, the story says.
“One of the reasons that I carry is for my family,” Nass said in the story. “I don’t want to be required by law to have something that’s inaccessible to me in case I need to use it to defend that grandchild of mine.”
Nass also said gun owners already report their guns when they are missing or stolen, if they are aware of the theft, and that forcing them to do this by law would punish them for having their guns stolen, according to the story. Nass said gun owners shouldn’t be held legally responsible for having their gun stolen.
“This (legislation) works hard toward harassing that poor victim, and criminalizing something they may not have control over,” Nass said in the story.