State News

Madison Democrat introduces gun exclusion bill

State Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, introduced a bill Monday to help lower suicide rates by allowing people to prohibit themselves from buying a handgun.

Image By: Thomas Yonash

People would have the opportunity to limit themselves from being able to purchase a handgun in Wisconsin under a new bill introduced Monday by a Democratic lawmaker.

State Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, is sponsoring the “Firearm Self-Exclusion Program” that aims to reduce suicide rates in Wisconsin by giving people who have experienced suicidal tendencies the opportunity to voluntarily prohibit themselves from purchasing a handgun.

Nearly half of the suicides that occur in Wisconsin involve firearms, according to Sargent. Sargent said she hopes this bill, introduced during National Suicide Prevention Week, will allow people to take action for their own safety as “a simple solution that will save lives.”

“Each and every one of us either has been affected ourselves or know someone who has been affected by a suicide loss, but we don’t talk about those experiences or know how to get help when we need it,” Sargent said in a statement. “[The bill] provides an important step in preventing and reducing suicide by allowing people to take proactive steps to keep themselves safe when they’re in crisis.”

An individual who wants to participate in the self-exclusion program would have to complete an application and would have to decide if they want to be banned from buying a gun for a one-year, five-year or twenty-year term.

The bill then directs the Department of Justice to maintain a list of people who voluntarily excluded themselves from being able to purchase a handgun in Wisconsin.

The bill is currently in circulation for co-sponsorship. The period for circulation ends on Sept. 22. 

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