“45-year-old Radcliffe Haughton [above] bought a handgun just two days after his estranged wife obtained a restraining order against him,” washingtonpost.com reports. He used the gun to shoot seven women at the spa, killing his wife and two others, before fatally shooting himself.” Three days before Haughton’s murderous spree, a Wisconsin court had ordered the ex-Marine to surrender his weapons. For some reason, the County Sheriff isn’t saying if they made any attempt to collect Haughton’s guns before he opened fire. (I’m thinking no). That said, Haughton “bought the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun used in the attack from a private owner on Saturday, according to police in Brown Deer, the Milwaukee suburb where Haughton lived.” Which was not against the law . . .
The seller did nothing illegal, however, because Wisconsin law only requires background checks and a 48-hour waiting period from gun dealers, not from private individuals. Still, Sen. Lena Taylor said the shooting highlights the need for better enforcement of laws that require restraining order recipients to surrender their weapons.
“Across Wisconsin there are inconsistent standards, or sometimes none at all, for the collection of weapons owned by domestic abusers,” the Milwaukee Democrat said Monday as she and Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber pushed for [a new] bill.
Taylor’s legislation calls for requiring individuals who are subject to a restraining order to surrender their firearms within 48 hours or face arrest. The bill failed to pass in 2010, after the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups fought it.
Insert rant about evil NRA opposition to “common sense gun control” here, complete with anti-gunners’ demands for immediate confiscation of firearms from individuals subject to a restraining order (where the burden of proof can be extremely low).
Oh, and a call for all private gun sales to go through a gun dealer for a background check.
Actually not. The AP-written report is surprisingly realistic about the potential impact of any such legislation and says nothing, zip, niente, nada about “closing the gun show loophole.” It’s coming alright, but not here.
Tony Gibart, policy coordinator for the Wisconsin Coalition against Domestic Violence, supports Taylor’s bill but admits it may not have done anything to stop Haughton.
“We don’t know what would have prevented this situation,” he said.
Jeff Nass, president of Wisconsin Force, an NRA-chartered state association, said such a law would have done nothing to prevent Haughton’s shooting spree.
“It’s just one of those things that make some people feel better,” Nass said. “It’s just like a restraining order. We know how effective those are. The tragedy is, it’s hard to understand how people think and what deranged people do.”
Exactly. It’s hard to know how gun control advocates believe they can reduce firearms-relate murders by choking-off access to guns. It’s hard to know how they could fail to see that Mrs. Haughton, who’d been terrorized by her husband for years, should have been armed.
Here’s an account of her execution from chicagotribune.com. Imagine how this might have played out if Mrs. Haughton had been armed and the Azana Day Salon & Spa was NOT a gun-free zone.
Betty Brunner, 65, said she had an 11 a.m. appointment with Haughton and was chatting with her, catching up on Haughton’s two daughters. As Haughton went to get Brunner a cup of coffee, Brunner spotted a very tall man standing in the shop, wearing a backpack and holding a revolver, pointing it into the air, she said.
“He spun and when he spun he pointed the gun directly at the reception desk and he yelled, ‘Everybody down, everybody down!’” said Brunner, of Jackson, Wis. “I got down on the floor.”
There were about 16 other people in the shop, she said. But rather than get down on the ground like everyone else, Brunner said, Zina Haughton approached the man.
“Zina walked up to the reception desk kind of shielding the young receptionist and said, ‘What do you want?’” Brunner said.
Haughton spoke to the man as though he was a stranger, calling him “sir,” she said. She recalled Haughton saying, “Anything we can give you, anything you want? These are good people, they’re just here. This is a peaceful place.”
Haughton kept talking to the man, apparently trying to defuse the situation. Brunner said she didn’t realize they were married until afterward. The man then grabbed Haughton by the arm and pulled her away from the reception area and yelled out again, “Everybody down, everybody down!”
He then took Haughton around a wall where other women were also located, she said. Brunner then heard shots fired. When the man returned, she said, she lay very still. She watched him get what she thought was additional ammunition from the backpack.
He asked a woman who was in front of the reception desk to show him the way to a second floor of the spa, she said. But the woman’s knees were bleeding.
“She said, ‘I am so sorry, sir, I can’t. I’m shot, I can’t stand up,’” Brunner said.
Then she watched the man go up the stairs alone.