AG Van Hollen says new gun laws possible, questions needed - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: AG Van Hollen says new gun laws possible, but questions needed

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Three Democratic state lawmakers promise to write new legislation restricting gun rights.

But, Wisconsin's Attorney General says he's not sure new laws would necessarily help protect people.

While he is a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen says the U.S. Supreme Court has left state legislatures room to impose certain firearm restrictions.

"Under the United States Supreme Court decision recently in Heller (v. District of Columbia) that made it very, very clear that individuals have the right to keep and bear arms. They also made it very, very clear that legislatures have the ability to regulate that for public safety purposes," said Van Hollen.

Rep. Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) wants to do just that.

Tuesday, he and two other Milwaukee Representative-Elects announced they would introduce legislation next spring to ban the sale of assault weapons and hollow-point bullets in Wisconsin.

Van Hollen questions such restrictions.

"I think if you look back in our history, usually criminals by their very definition, people who are gonna commit heinous crimes like this, don't necessarily pay much attention to the law," said Van Hollen.

But one proposal from Rep. Kessler which Van Hollen and other Republicans may agree with, is mandatory state psychiatric testing for anyone who applies for a concealed-carry permit.

"In Connecticut it appears we have yet another instance of somebody who perhaps had a mental illness. And that's an area where we've been continuing to try to move forward in the debate, more about making sure we keep the weapons out of the hands of the people who shouldn't have them in the first place," said Van Hollen.

Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) told reporters in La Crosse today he does not expect the State Legislature to pay any type of assault weapons ban.

But Gov. Walker did say there's been a huge breakdown in the mental health system, which needs to be focused on.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen says recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings leave room for new gun restrictions, but questions whether they are needed.

Van Hollen made those statements in a one-on-one interview with 27 News Tuesday morning.

"I quite frankly don't believe we have a significant firearm problem in our society," said Van Hollen. "We certainly have to make sure that we try to keep them out of the hands of those people who can't exercise appropriate judgement. In Connecticut it appears we have yet another instance of somebody who perhaps had a mental illness. And that's an area where we've been continuing to try to move forward in the debate, more about making sure we keep the weapons out of the hands of the people who shouldn't have them in the first place."

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have more on Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen's comments on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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