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Wisconsin domestic violence suspects will lose guns with new law

Those accused of domestic violence in Waukesha are often already asked to walk a fine line with the court while their case is being processed. They are usually served with a restraining order by the victim and may be required by the court to undergo treatment for anger and aggression. Yet beyond that, they still are allowed to go about their lives with a majority of their rights unaffected.

That could soon change if legislation recently put forth in Wisconsin passes. The new bill would require parties subject to restraining orders as a result of domestic violence to notify the court of any firearms that they own and to surrender those guns to authorities. Under the new law, failure to report those firearms to the court could result in a perjury charge, and failure to hand guns over to the court once they've been reported could potentially lead to an arrest. If the abuser does not attend the hearings regarding this issue, not only does he or she risk being arrested for contempt of court, but the judge is then allowed to consider information provided by the victim in identifying any weapons the abuser may possess.

The proposed legislation is said to have bipartisan support in the state senate, and also the backing of the state's judiciary. Supporters believe that a vote on the bill could take place as part of the current legislative session.

Anyone with a domestic violence arrest hanging over his or her head already has enough to worry about; the potential of losing any more of one's rights only compounds those concerns. A criminal defense attorney with experience in handling domestic violence cases may be a valuable ally to have as one works his or her way through the case.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Wisconsin bill would better verify abuse suspects' gun possession" Gina Barton, Sep. 23, 2013

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