An open letter to the Wisconsin Legislature: We need to keep guns out of the hands of abusers

Dear Legislators;

recent case that went before the State Supreme Court has shed some light on a troubling fact: Wisconsin has no laws prohibiting the possession or purchase of firearms by people who have committed violent misdemeanors.

Daniel Doubek, a man who threatened the life of his estranged wife, is now allowed to obtain a concealed carry permit. It is absurd to say the least. The courts did their job, which amounts to interpreting the law, so it is clear to me that the job of changing the law is up to members of the State Assembly and Senate.

In a paper published in Injury Epidemiology, it is noted that over two-thirds of mass shootings are related to domestic violence. Research conducted by Michigan State University has shown that 38% of mass shooters have a history of domestic violence that is either known by law enforcement or that has been reported in the media. Either figure is troubling. I used to work for a domestic abuse shelter, and I have seen lives lost all because an abusive partner was able to obtain a firearm. Sure, people kill people, but firearms make it so much easier.

If someone identifies as “pro-life” and “tough on crime,” then it should be a no-brainer to pass a law that prohibits people who have committed violent misdemeanors from obtaining or owning a firearm. Law abiding citizens would still be able to obtain or own firearms if this kind of legislation were passed. Why wait until a felony is committed if there is already a well-documented history of violent crime for an individual? There needs to not only be real consequences for violent crime, but also prevention.

You are capable of crafting policy that would save lives. Please do so.