Wisconsin considers bill barring dismissal of gun charges

AP Photo/Wilson Ring

Democrats spend a lot of time calling for more gun control these days. They tell us that the “unfettered access” to firearms makes our streets less safe.

Meanwhile, they have a strong tendency to also prefer “prosecutors” who don’t actually prosecute much of anything.

In Wisconsin, a bill has been introduced that seeks to address that.

If passed into law, a new proposal at the Wisconsin Capitol would stop local prosecutors from dismissing gun possession charges unless it’s in the “public’s interest.”

The Senate’s Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on the plan, SB 852, on Tuesday.

“We are seeing violent crimes that are occurring, and they’re happening with firearms. And these are illegal firearms in 99% of the cases that are causing the problems,” Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, said Tuesday. “If we deal that away as one of the first things so we don’t have to do an in-depth trial, that doesn’t make sense.”

The proposal would force local district attorneys to get a judge’s permission before dismissing an illegal gun charge. But there are some conditions.

“The court may approve the dismissal or amendment only if the court finds the action is consistent with the public’s interest in deterring the possession of firearms by violent felons and with the legislature’s intention to vigorously prosecute violent felons who illegally possess a firearm,” the legislation reads.

Now, I’m of two minds on this.

On one hand, it forces prosecutors to actually prosecute at least some of the violations of current gun laws rather than just screaming about how we need more. If you can dismiss gun charges, you don’t get to help feed into your own narrative.

Then, on the other, we have the fact that it’s still gun control. Yes, people want to see the laws on the books enforced, but that’s still gun control, either way you slice it.

Ultimately, though, treating criminals like criminals isn’t the worst idea I’ve seen and it’s definitely smart politics based on the polling we’ve seen of late. As noted, most people want to see the laws already on the books enforced, particularly before we even consider new gun control.

This bill will basically force the hand of prosecutors to some degree. They won’t be able to let potentially violent criminals back out onto the streets nearly as easily or as quickly.

As a result, they end up in prison where their violence is, at worst, contained.

It’s still focused on gun control as if that’s a good thing, which it isn’t, but we’re not going to make gun laws disappear overnight. It’s never going to happen unless all laws disappear overnight, and that would ultimately be a bad thing.

So, if this is the best option available, then I guess it’s what Wisconsin needs to do.

Though I do think they’d be better off removing the handgun purchase requirement in the state and embracing constitutional carry as a way to combat violent crime. That most definitely seemed to help Dallas.