Current law requires only background checks for gun buyers from federally licensed dealers. The bill would require background checks would apply to all sales, including gun sales made online and at gun shows.
Democratic Sen. Nikiya Harris, of Milwaukee, said Thursday that an 18 percent increase in Milwaukee's homicide rate is one reason to close what she called loopholes in the public safety system. Harris says without universal background checks the state's current laws preventing felons from possessing guns are meaningless.
Legislators stood behind boxes of 16,500 signatures from Wisconsin residents who support universal background checks. Republicans have not scheduled the bill for a hearing.