The Wisconsin Legislature is currently considering repealing a law that makes a handgun purchaser wait 48 hours before he or she is allowed to take possession of the firearm.
During the debate, state Sen. Van Wanggaard said, “There’s no statistical evidence that it [the 48-hour handgun waiting period] reduces violence whatsoever.”
Well, the PolitiFact team for the Journal Sentinel put that claim under the microscope to determine whether the Republican lawmaker from Racine was telling the truth.
The fact checkers conclusion, “There is research to indicate that handgun waiting periods are linked with lower suicide rates. But we did not find evidence that waiting periods coincide with less violence being committed by one person against another. If such evidence emerges, we may revisit this item.”
“As it stands, Wanggaard’s statement is accurate but needs clarification — our definition of Mostly True,” it said.
You can check out how the team arrived at that conclusion and the experts they corresponded with during the fact-checking process by looking at the article.
The repeal bill is now headed to the GOP-dominated state Assembly where it will likely be approved, and then on to the desk of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who also intimated that he supports repealing the waiting period.
What’s fascinating to me, at least, is that just like other gun-control laws — bans on certain rifles, magazines and accessories — the fact that the 48-hour waiting period doesn’t reduce gun-related violence should have been plainly obvious.
Drug dealers, gangsters and other criminals — the individuals chiefly responsible for perpetrating gun violence — are not dissuaded from shooting or killing because of a waiting period (or because of a ban on a certain firearm). Well, for starters, they don’t typically obtain their firearms through legal channels. Typically, they steal guns, purchase them on the black market, use a straw buyer or borrow them from another criminal. Given this reality, what good is a 48 hour waiting period?
The real impact of a 48-hour waiting period is to make law-abiding citizens wait longer to exercise their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. This becomes extremely problematic for those citizens who are in imminent danger and need a firearm ASAP, e.g. a spouse who has recently separated from a domestic abuser.
Hopefully Wisconsin lawmakers get this one right and do away with the 48-hour waiting period. It doesn’t do anything but delay good people from getting the tool they need to protect themselves.