Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Felons Can Still Buy Wisconsin Hunting Licenses?

Here is an article posted by the Wausau Daily Herald that talks about how felons that are banned from possessing firearms still have the ability to buy hunting licenses.  Seems a little off to me, glad there are changes being made.

Felons might see hunting changes

Those banned from possessing firearms by Wisconsin law also could be banned from buying firearm hunting licenses.

Currently, those prohibited from possessing firearms, such as felons, still can buy the licenses.

Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Eau Claire, is working on a bill that would make the change and create other types of licenses for those people. Deadline for co-sponsorship is 5 p.m. Friday, and Smith hopes to introduce the bill in the coming weeks.

During the 2009 nine-day gun deer season, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wardens arrested 29 felons in possession of firearms in the field.

"This is about safe gun hunting for everyone and making sure that people follow the law," Smith said.

He said current law sends a mixed message. The bill also creates archery for bear hunting, archery for turkey hunting and air gun or archery for small game licenses for those who can't buy a firearm license.

Combined licenses still will be available, and nothing changes for those who can hunt with firearms, Smith said.

Tom Van Haren, a conservation warden with the Bureau of Law Enforcement in Madison with the DNR, said there isn't a current prohibition because all licenses issued, with the exception of one, carry the option of using a bow and arrow.

"There's no reason for them to have that license, really," he said. "We support what this bill is attempting to accomplish."

Van Haren said a violation could net a penalty of more than $1,000 to more than $2,000, including court costs. Violators also would have all hunting privileges revoked for five years.

Portage County Sheriff John Charewicz said he doesn't recall the department finding someone illegally hunting with a firearm. He said the department does receive reports of convicted felons hunting with firearms, but reports are often unfounded or anonymous.

It is a problem because there are no checks to prevent convicted felons from purchasing firearm licensees, Charewicz said.

Source: Wausau Daily Herald
Article Link: http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20100126/WDH0101/1260636/1981/WDHsports/Felons-might-see-hunting-changes

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