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Lawmakers Consider Tougher Penalties For Illegal Gun Buying In Wisconsin

Bill Would Make 'Straw Buying' A Felony In Wisconsin

Wisconsin state capitol
Ann Althouse (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A proposal in the state Legislature would make buying a gun for someone who’s legally barred from owning one — a practice commonly known as “straw buying” — a felony in Wisconsin.

Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, the bill’s sponsor, said tougher state penalties are necessary to deter straw buying.

“We have laws on the books right now to prevent (straw buying), but quite frankly the law is inadequate,” he said.

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Sanfelippo said the bill is aimed at reducing gun violence in Milwaukee.

Several law enforcement organizations, including the Wisconsin Professional Police Association and the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association, support the bill.

“This legislation will help sheriffs and other law enforcement officers keep our communities safe by deterring people from providing criminals with guns,” said Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden at a public hearing on the proposal.

Under the bill, someone who engages in straw buying could be fined up to $25,000 and imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The bill also requires people to fill out a form when they buy a gun, certifying that they’re not buying it for someone else.

The proposal has yet to be voted on in committee.