Fact Confirmed: Handgun Waiting Periods Do Not Reduce Violence

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.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • STEVE May 5, 2015, 10:55 pm


  • Vee Kay May 4, 2015, 5:40 pm

    I would recommend taking the questions regarding race and ethnicity off the 4473 and adding a question regarding thoughts of suicide by one’s own hand or suicide by cop….

    • Maggie Buergey May 4, 2015, 6:30 pm

      I agree, I asked the dealer I was buying from at a gun show this past weekend why they wanted to know what ethnicity and race I was, he had no answer but it sure seems wierd to me.
      Does it mean you have to wait longer if you are latino?

    • Calvin Lego September 1, 2017, 8:57 am

      I think the race/ethnicity question would fall into the discrimination category. And the choice of asking specifically if you are Hispanic… What’s up with that?!

      Does anyone even look at the 4473 form? Judging by the fact that the Alexandria shooting of a U.S. senator was done by a guy with a background of domestic violence seems to me like noone looked at his background. At least there seems to be no way to “connect the dots” between the different law enforcement agencies. In other words, somehow his background should have been enough to disallow him from purchasing the gun he used to shoot the senator with. It, in fact, did not. Simple problem, fix it right? No, official law enforcement people just waste more money trying to put blame on legal gun owners when they are in fact to blame for not enforcing the laws we already have. Political gain is all they are concerned with.

  • Magnum May 4, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Never Did”>>>> Never Will lol , nothing but a bunch of drama in this Country .

  • L Cavendish May 4, 2015, 3:36 pm

    OK…waiting period…but ONLY for handguns…not rifles or shotguns…WTF?
    And how about in Florida? I love this one….
    3 day wait for handguns…unless you have a concealed weapons permit.
    Wait…it gets better…
    EVEN for sworn LEOs…that walk in the store in uniform with a duty weapon in a holster on their hip.

  • Ditto April 29, 2015, 2:09 pm

    Excellent article. The biggest thing people on both sides of this debate forget is the Constitution. Both sides argue about whether the waiting period does what it was supposedly intended to do. Yet, the more important thing to me is that the law is a huge infringement on the rights of citizens to exercise very important Constitutional rights.

    For far too long in our country, our courts, our legislators, and voters have been way, way too willing to give up our liberty.

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