Today, Representative Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) testified in favor of Assembly Bill 75, relating to the local regulation of honorary firearm discharges. The bill, authored by Rep. Stafsholt and Sen. David Craig (R-Big Bend) was introduced to ensure our fallen military service members are guaranteed their well-deserved honor of a ceremonial rifle salute.
“Rifle salutes are a long-held military tradition for honoring fallen service members at their funerals, recognizing the sacrifice of past generations,” said Representative Stafsholt. “This bill makes certain that the proper recognition is provided to all members of our military, as well as law enforcement officers and firefighters.”
Under current law, local units of government are prohibited from enforcing firearm regulations relating to the sale, purchase delay, transfer, ownership, use, keeping, possession, bearing, transportation, licensing, permitting, registration, or taxation. However, local municipalities can ban the discharge of firearms, even with the use with blank ammunition, and that ban extends to funerals and military ceremonies.
To list just one example, Madison currently prohibits the discharge of any firearm within the city, unless the Chief of Police waives the prohibition. In an NBC 15 story from earlier this year, after granting permission to discharge a firearm at a funeral for a local veteran, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval stated he “would welcome some state pre-emption on this.”
“I echo the statement made by the Madison Chief of Police,” said Representative Stafsholt. “I believe Wisconsin should continue to set the example of how to properly treat Veterans and their families.”
Assembly Bill 75 states that a municipality cannot ban the discharge of a firearm if the discharge uses a blank round to provide military, firefighter, or law enforcement honors at a funeral, a cemetery on Memorial Day, a cemetery on Veterans Day, or at a Veteran’s war memorial.
“We must eliminate this approval process and eliminate any potential holdups that could arise at future ceremonies and funerals,” said Representative Stafsholt. “Unfortunately, permissions often turn into permits, and permits often end up with a fee associated with them. I cannot think of a more absurd idea than the possibility of requiring permits or charging a fee for one of America’s most patriotic traditions.”
Representative Stafsholt represents the 29th Assembly District, which includes portions of eastern St. Croix County and western Dunn County.