Wisconsin Senate okays eliminating gun waiting period
MADISON (AP) — The state Senate has approved a Republican bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s decades-old 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.
The Senate passed the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. The proposal now goes to the state Assembly. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, supports the bill.
The waiting period was enacted in the mid-1970s. The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Van Wanggaard, a Racine Republican, says the waiting period was meant to allow time for background checks but the checks now can be done far more quickly with computers and law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to wait for their guns.
Minority Democrats say eliminating the waiting period would allow angry people to get their hands on guns quickly.
Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) issued this statement to FOX6 News:
“I was always under the impression that the wait time was put in place to guard against impulsive acts of violence. When I was told that the bills drafting notes didn’t specify that intent, I let it go. However, Senator Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville) knew otherwise and produced copies of news articles from February 6, 1976, from the Capital Times newspaper. The headlines clearly read ‘Handgun Cooling-Off Bill Ok’d by State Assembly.’
Even after learning that they based their position on incorrect assumptions, the Republicans held to their guns. Wanggaard, after hearing the real intent of the two-day rule, said during his time in law enforcement, it wasn’t interpreted that way and that today the 48-hour rule was an inconvenience. When did extra precautions to save a life become an inconvenience?”
Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) issued this statement:
“Today’s actions come as a slap in the face to citizens desperate for solutions to increasing gun violence. Instead of focusing on ways to make our communities safer and implementing background checks for all types of firearm sales – which polling has shown a vast majority of the public and even 74% of National Rifle Association members support – Republicans took a completely irresponsible step backwards by ignoring the public safety and mental health needs of our community. We must do more to protect families against gun violence, not cave to the influence and pressure of gun manufacturers and lobbyists.
Unfortunately, today we saw another clear example of Republicans in the state putting special interest groups before people and sound public policy. Republicans passing this bill today is like eliminating stoplights, and pretending there won’t be more accidents.
Republicans in the Legislature need to put aside their blind support for Governor Walker’s ambitions, and stop passing bills to bolster his rhetoric while he tries to leave Wisconsin behind. Instead, they should join us in focusing on improving the quality of life of our neighbors here in Wisconsin. We’d be much better off as a state if leaders instead promoted our state’s shared values, such as investing in our kids’ schools, improving access to basic health care services, and creating family-supporting jobs that will help us grow the economy.”