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.