GOP: Let state residents buy out-of-state guns

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Associated Press | September 17, 2013

MADISON — Wisconsin residents would be able to purchase rifles and shotguns from dealers anywhere in the nation under a bill being pushed by a pair of Republican lawmakers.

The U.S. Gun Control Act enacted in 1968 banned interstate firearm sales but allowed dealers to sell long guns to buyers in contiguous states. Then a federal law enacted nearly two decades later granted states the ability to permit people to buy long guns from dealers in any state, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

A bill that would lift the contiguous state ban on Wisconsin residents was recently introduced by Republican Rep. John Spiros of Marshfield and Sen. Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst. Spiros said he didn't know why Wisconsin's restriction was still in place.

"It's just common sense," Spiros told the State Journal.

Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, said Republicans introduced the bill now because the GOP has full control of state government and Republicans want to please the National Rifle Association.

"This is gun season in that regard," Berceau said. "I am guessing that they see an opportunity now for anything related to firearms to get an affirmative vote in this Legislature."

Spiros said he has talked to the NRA about the bill, as well as hunters who want to see the change.

George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said lifting the restrictions would give hunters more opportunities to foind rare weapons at better prices.

Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said the bill doesn't look problematic because it involves long guns rather than handguns. He noted that most other states have dropped the contiguous state restrictions.

Identical versions of the bill are in the Assembly's natural resources committee and the Senate transportation committee. Neither panel has scheduled a hearing on the measure yet.

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