State lawmakers propose bill to close ‘ghost gun’ loophole

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Two Democratic lawmakers are trying to close a gun loophole in Wisconsin arguing it would increase safety and save lives.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point) and Rep. Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) say their bill would prevent future gun violence by addressing undetectable or unmarked guns, or so-called ghost guns.

“Undetectable firearms are not regulated and pose a significant threat to the safety of our community,” said Hesselbein. “We have seen the impact of loose firearm safety laws and we cannot continue to be silent when people in our community are asking for change”

Erpenbach and Hesselbein said their proposal would prevent what happened in Middleton from ever happening again.

In 2018, a gunman opened fire inside WTS Paradigm in Middleton. He was barred from legally buying a gun and bypassed background check laws by legally purchasing parts online and assembling the gun used to shoot four co-workers.

On the year anniversary of the shooting, former Middleton Police Chief Charles Foulke called on lawmakers to close gun law loopholes like ghost guns and gun show sales.

Current federal law allows people to get 80 percent, the lower portion of a gun already assembled. People can then assemble the final 20 percent by buying different parts online.

“Wisconsinites deserve to feel safe when they go about their days, but Republicans have refused to close glaring loopholes that allow criminals to possess firearms,” said Erpenbach. “We shouldn’t have to accept this as our reality. “

State Republican leaders have argued that restricting access to guns won’t stop mass shootings and infringes on Second Amendment rights. Instead of gun control, they say lawmakers efforts should be focused on mental health.