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Walker throws support behind bill dropping handgun wait period

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker has thrown his support to a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

Walker said he wants the state to be a leader on the issue. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that Walker’s remarks came in an interview last week with the National Rifle Association’s news network.

A bill before legislators would eliminate Wisconsin’s 40-year-old law that requires the wait between the time a background check is submitted to the Department of Justice and a handgun is acquired.

“We’ve been the leader when it comes to freedom over the last four years,” Walker said in the interview, citing Wisconsin’s passage of a concealed-carry law and another law that protects homeowners from prosecution when they shoot people they perceive as a threat. Of dropping the waiting period, Walker said, “I think we want to be a leader in this area as well.”

An assembly committee held a hearing on the bill last week. It has support from the NRA and several hunting groups. The city of Milwaukee and groups fighting domestic violence oppose it.

Rep. Fred Kessler, a Milwaukee Democrat on the committee, says he supports an amendment that would create an exception for people arrested multiple times for domestic abuse.

Sen. Van Wanggaard, a Racine Republican sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, said the waiting period law dates to a period when law enforcement had to search through index cards in filing cabinets to conduct background checks. Modern criminal background checks can be done in a few hours via electronic databases.

A public hearing on the bill is planned for March 11 in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

One comment

  1. With all due respect, the Governor and supporters of this bill ignore the fact that another purpose for the 48-hour waiting period is that it helps prevent gun violence by providing a cooling off period following an emotional decision to purchase a gun. This has nothing to do with freedom, other than the “freedom” to kill someone in anger, and everything to do with public safety.

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