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Walker throws support behind bill dropping handgun wait period

By: Associated Press//March 3, 2015//

Walker throws support behind bill dropping handgun wait period

By: Associated Press//March 3, 2015//

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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.

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