Would Better Gun-Law Enforcement Have Stopped Wisconsin Spa Shooter?


Prompted by the shooting rampage at a Wisconsin spa, local lawmakers are pushing to tighten enforcement of gun rules in domestic violence cases. The Associated Press says it's unlikely their changes would have prevented Radcliffe Haughton from buying a handgun two days after his estranged wife obtained a restraining order against him. He used the gun to shoot seven women, killing his wife and two others, before fatally shooting himself. State Sen. Lena Taylor said the case highlights the need for better enforcement of laws that require restraining order recipients to surrender weapons. ''Across Wisconsin there are inconsistent standards, or sometimes none at all, for the collection of weapons owned by domestic abusers,'' she said.

Haughton bought the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun used in the attack from a private owner on Saturday. The seller did nothing illegal because Wisconsin law only requires background checks and a 48-hour waiting period from gun dealers, not from private individuals. Jeff Nass of Wisconsin Force, a National Rifle Association-chartered association, said changing the law would have done nothing to prevent Haughton's shooting spree. ''It's just one of those things that make some people feel better,'' Nass said. ''It's just like a restraining order. We know how effective those are. The tragedy is, it's hard to understand how people think and what deranged people do.''

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