Wisconsin Democrats Call For Ban Of Most Semi-Automatic Firearms

Wisconsin Assembly Chamber, photo courtesy John Hart, State Journal

As Wisconsin Republicans work to pass legislation broadening concealed carry permit holders’ right to carry, state Democrats propose a bill which takes a huge swipe at all gun owner’s rights.


Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, and three other Assembly Democrats plan to unleash the bill in the coming weeks which would essentially ban any possession or transfer of semi-automatic rifles and pistols in the state.

“Our nation has watched as community after community has had to confront the tragedies that occur when weapons designed to kill large numbers of people quickly get into the hands of a dangerous person,” Subeck said in a statement. “No Wisconsin community should ever have to face such a tragedy at the hands of someone armed with a semi-automatic assault weapon.” (more about Wisconsin communities in a bit)

The proposed bill specifically defines “assault weapon” for the purpose of the ban as:

  1. (a) “Assault weapon” means any of the following:
  2. 13  1. A semi-automatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine
  3. 14  and that has any of the following:
  4. 15  a. A pistol grip that protrudes beneath the action of the weapon.
  5. 16  b. A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock.
  6. 17  c. A 2nd handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand.
  7. 18  d. A bayonet mount.
  8. 19  e. A flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator or a threaded
  9. 20  barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, muzzle brake, or muzzle compensator.
  10. 21  f. A grenade launcher.
  11. 22  2. A semiautomatic shotgun that has any of the following:
  12. 23  a. A folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stock.
  13. 24  b. A 2nd handgrip or protruding grip that can be held by the nontrigger hand.
  14. 25  c. A fixed magazine capacity in excess of 7 rounds.

Due to the vagueness in it’s definition, this bill could potentially outlaw all modern semi-automatic handguns, shotguns and pistols in Wisconsin.

Under the bill, whoever transports, purchases, possesses, or transfers a semi-automatic assault weapon is guilty of a felony and may be fined up to $10,000, sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to six years, or both. If the crime is committed in a school zone, the maximum term of imprisonment is increased by five years (funny that they put that in there since it’s already ILLEGAL to carry in gun-free school zones, am I right?). The bill does allow an exception for military and law enforcement officials.

While other states like California and New York have similar laws, they allow for two or more cosmetic features before a rifle is considered an “assault weapon”. Stubeck’s proposed bill would only allow for one and under the weight requirement alone, most standard AK and AR rifles would be illegal without any modifications, as would any handgun with,”A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel,” language so mucky an ill-defined as to include the closed slide of the vast majority of most modern handguns.

Of note: Wisconsin communities and crime rates are nothing like California or New York. In the Badger State last year, 111 people were victims of gun homicides, but the breakdown of those incidents tells the real story of what Representatives should be focusing on in the state. Gun homicides occurred in only 15 of the state’s 72 counties and were concentrated in urban areas. The city of Milwaukee, with just over 10 percent of the state’s population, owned two-thirds of its gun homicides. So far, Milwaukee has already surpassed the total number of gun homicides in the entire state of Wisconsin with a whopping 118 homicides in the Democrat-run city as of October 15, 2015.


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Since Rep. Stubeck encourages Wisconsinites to speak out and take action ‘for the future of our democracy’, I would hope more residents will speak out against the failures of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Police Chief Ed Flynn, and state Democrats who think disarming law-abiding citizens is the solution to anything criminals choose to do. Keep working to continue to strengthen gun owner’s rights to defend ourselves against armed attacks across the state, Wisconsin!


In response to the swift backlash against her proposed legislation, Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) has acknowledged the bill goes too far.

“After receiving feedback from some of our colleagues regarding the circulation of a preliminary draft banning semiautomatic assault weapons, the other authors of the bill and I have determined that we will work with the Legislative Reference Bureau to make some revisions to the draft bill to address some concerns that have been raised,” Subeck admitted via email.

“While LRB 3635 was not intended to impair Wisconsin’s rich hunting heritage and those who annually participate in it, our state does need to have a serious and meaningful conversation about gun violence,” she wrote. “We will be working with the Legislative Reference Bureau, Legislative Council, and others to ensure that a future bill draft corrects any drafting errors and unintended oversights to ensure more consistency with our current hunting and sporting regulations.”


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