A bill that would abolish Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases has passed the State Assembly and is headed to Gov. Scott Walker to be signed into law.
The state’s waiting period has been in effect since 1976, according to this story posted by The Chicago Tribune.
Minority Democrats railed against the bill, saying that without the 48-hour wait, people in fits of rage or depression could buy a weapon quickly and kill themselves or others with it. Republicans said the waiting period only inconveniences law-abiding citizens and that the waiting period was enacted when it was necessary to conduct background checks by digging through file cards by hand. Checks can now be completed in a matter of hours. If a buyer’s record is clean, it can be completed in minutes.
Rep. Romaine Quinn, the bill’s chief Assembly sponsor, said on the Assembly floor that the bill is being made out to be something more than it is and that gun buyers still have to pass a background check.
“This allows law-abiding citizens to take a gun home the same day. We can’t tell law-abiding citizens they can’t do that,” Quinn said.
In the story, Rep. Mary Czaja is quotes as saying the bill is important, however, because it will give women a way to obtain a weapon quickly to protect themselves against stalkers and domestic abusers.
“Restraining orders don’t help,” Czaja said. “We’re selling these guns to people who pass a background check and are legal and have every right to own one. This is about empowering women to help themselves and protect their families and their friends.”
The state Senate passed the bill in April. According to the story, Walker, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, was asked via email if he would sign the bill. His spokesperson, Laurel Patrick responded by saying Walker supports laws that “make it easier for law-abiding citizens to access firearms and difficult for criminals to obtain illegal firearms.”
Ten states and the District of Columbia currently impose some form of waiting period for handgun purchases.
Several gun-related bills were acted upon the same day, with the state Senate passing a bill that would allow off-duty, retired officers to carry guns at schools. The assembly also passed the measure with a voice vote and no debate.