Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul says a “red flag” law would help keep schools safer and give law enforcement a means to temporarily disarm people who may be dangerous to themselves or others.
A red flag law allows a family member or law enforcement to go to a judge to “make sure that somebody who is dangerous doesn’t have access to the firearms that they possess,” Kaul said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Thirteen states currently have red flag laws, Kaul said, and “from a constitutional standpoint, they’ve held up, so far at least.”
Gousha asked about concerns that a person being disarmed in an emergency situation might be denied due process. Kaul said red flag laws do allow for due process.
“That person can go to a judge and make their case. There is a process in place,” he said.
“This is something that I think we need, in this environment we’re in now,” he said. “Last full school year, over 4 million kids went through lockdowns in their schools. We’ve had far too many school shootings. We need to make our schools as safe as we possibly can. And one of the ways we can do that is if somebody makes a threat, this gives law enforcement a tool to disarm that person.”
Kaul also said he supports legalizing marijuana for medical use. He said it would be a safer alternative than opioids for people who need pain management. He also said it could generate revenue for the state.
“I would rather see that revenue coming in and being used to fund enforcement efforts and prevention efforts and treatment efforts, rather than just ignoring it as we are now,” he said.
Also on the program, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, said “political theater” is playing out in Washington over the continuing partial government shutdown.
“We should all be locked in a room until it’s resolved,” said Steil, who succeeded Paul Ryan as representative of the 1st Congressional District. “They should take all 435 members of the House, the 100 members of the Senate, and the president, lock us in a room and say we’re not coming out until we reach a resolution. The shutdown is having real impacts on people.”
President Trump and House Democrats are at odds over his demand for $5.7 billion for a wall on the southern U.S. border. The interview with Steil was recorded Friday, before Trump on Saturday offered to extend temporary DACA protections for immigrant youth in exchange for Congress agreeing to the $5.7 billion in wall money.
“I believe that’s an appropriate amount that needs to be funded,” Steil said. “I think a permanent structure is an appropriate use of those funds.”
In another segment, state Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, said she thinks there is a “good chance” that marijuana for medical uses will be made legal in Wisconsin “within this biennium.”
Sargent said the public spoke “loud and clear” in November when non-binding referenda calling for legalization of marijuana for medical or even recreational uses passed in counties and cities all over the state.
Gov. Tony Evers recently said he would take the first steps toward legalization of medical marijuana in his first budget.
“Certainly the tides have changed in the Capitol building. I think that this is fabulous example of how it is that we as policy makers come along and react to what it is that the public is asking us to do,” Sargent said.
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