MILWAUKEE — Zina Haughton was granted a four-year restraining order against her husband, Radcliffe Haughton last week during a court appearance — when he was also ordered to turn in any weapons to authorities. Though he was not allowed to have any weapons, as it turns out, it wasn’t difficult for Radcliffe Haughton to get his hands on a gun just two days later — one day before he opened fire inside the Azana Salon & Spa in Brookfield, killing three (including his wife) and injuring four. Now, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is pushing for changes in the law as one state representative says that wouldn’t have made a difference in this case.
A “gun wanted” ad was posted Saturday, October 20th on a website that allows people to arrange gun sales. The ad reads: “Looking for a handgun that is $300 or best offer. Looking to buy ASAP. Prefer full size. Prefer 45 or 40 caliber. I constantly check emails. Also I’m hoping it has a high mag capacity. I’m a serious buyer so please email me ASAP. Have cash now and looking to buy now.”
“It is deeply disturbing to learn how easily Radcliffe Haughton was able to obtain a gun even though he was prohibited from having a weapon,” Mayor Barrett said.
Mayor Barrett held a new conference Wednesday calling for stronger gun laws. He wants the state to pass legislation that would force private gun sales to go through a dealer. This would force the buyer to abide by a mandatory waiting period, and go through a background check — so people like Radcliffe Haughton won’t be able to buy a gun ASAP.
“I’ve been calling for this change for years. How many more times are we going to have the discussion after a tragedy where politicians are lined up to say they are shocked and sorry? Sadly, it is no longer shocking. It’s time for action. The fact is, had a background check been required on this sale, Mr. Haughton may not have been able to obtain the gun he used to murder his wife and her co-workers,” Mayor Barrett said.
Wisconsin state Representative Jeff Stone doesn’t agree. Rep. Stone says forcing private sellers to go through a dealer and run background checks isn’t the right solution because of the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. However, he says he would consider ideas that could make people safer.
“I just don’t know that we believe that another law is going to stop somebody who’s shown a willingness to violate the law. Obviously this was somebody who wasn’t acting in a reasonable or sane manner,” Rep. Stone said.
Rep. Stone said he believes the current laws are enough.
“What we need is we need to have enforcement of many of the laws that we already have,” Rep. Stone said.
Mayor Barrett said because of inaction by elected officials, people can take this matter into their own hands by contacting their representatives or even putting a referendum on the ballot to close this loophole.
“This is a simple and common sense change to our state statutes that had it been in place, could possibly have prevented this tragedy,” Mayor Barrett said.
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