The state Senate approved a repeal of the state’s two-day waiting period for handgun purchases, sending the bill off to the Assembly. Current state law prohibits consumers from taking a handgun from the store until 48 hours after a background check is started – a period that may be extended three additional days under certain circumstances. Under the bill proposed by Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) and supported by Gov. Scott Walker, consumers could take possession of purchased handguns as soon as they clear state background checks, which typically take a matter of hours with today’s technology.
Noting the availability of expeditious background checks, Sen. Nikiya Harris-Dodd (D-Milwaukee) sought unsuccessfully to amend the bill to include broader background checks for buyers. Currently, they are only required when purchasing firearms from licensed dealers, but not for guns sold by private sellers. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret concurs with the sentiment saying he believes extending background checks to private gun sales would assist law enforcement in their investigations of gun crimes.
Some lawmakers do not look on the bill favorably, believing that a waiting period is appropriate, especially in light of recent burst of gun violence in the Wisconsin. The state has been shaken by several recent shootings, including a case in which a man and a teenager were shot and killed following a car accident and, last month, the deaths of a Wausaukee man and a State Patrol Trooper involved in a shootout with an alleged bank robber.
Milwuakee Journal Sentinal, “Senate Votes to End Wisconsin’s Handgun Waiting Period”, by Jason Stein, April 21, 2015.