Legislation under consideration by the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety in the Wisconsin legislature would change the process for retrieving guns stolen by the police.
AB13 — supported by strange bedfellows The Milwaukee Police Association and National Rifle Association — will lengthen the petition process for return of seized firearms to six months, create additional hurdles for return of illegally seized property, and place respondents under an assumption of guilt despite no warrant for seizure in the first place.
Supporters claim the bill would make return of seized firearms easier, but there is already a petition process through the court in which a property owner may immediately apply for return of seized firearms. AB13, however, creates an assumption of guilt which properties owners assume, unless they can satisfy numerous conditions:
Current law specifies a process and criteria for courts and police officers to use
to determine ownership of property that has been seized by a police officer and to
decide if, how, and when to return the seized property. Under this bill, if a person
claims the right to possess a firearm that has been seized, he or she may apply to the
court for its return. If a person makes such a claim, the court must order the firearm
returned if one of the following occurs: all charges connected with the seizure are
dismissed; six months have elapsed since the seizure and no charges in connection
with it have been filed against the person; the final disposition for all charges is
reached and the person is not adjudged guilty of a crime in connection with the
seizure; the person establishes that he or she had no prior knowledge of and gave no
consent to the commission of the activity that led to the seizure; or the district
attorney affirmatively declines to file charges connected with the seizure against the
person. If the person applies to the court within eight business days after the
applicable event occurs, the court must order that the firearm be returned within ten
business days of the event. If the person applies to the court later than eight business
days after the applicable event occurs, the court must order that the firearm be
returned as soon as practically possible but no later than five business days after the
Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. is opposed to AB13 and urges gun owners to immediately contact members of the committee below. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 28., 2015.
AB13 is a Trojan Horse. That it is supported by the Milwaukee Police Association tells you all you need to know.
Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
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About the Author: Corey Graff is the executive director of Wisconsin Gun Owners, Inc. (WGO), a pro-gun activist, and a life-long gun owner from Wisconsin.