Gun Advocates Turn Out To Support Scrapping Handgun Waiting Period

Opponents Argue Fast Access To Guns Heightens Domestic Violence

M Glasgow (CC-BY)

Gun rights advocates turned out in force Thursday to testify in favor of a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period to buy a handgun. The only opposition came from the statewide group that represents victims of domestic violence.

Gun rights groups say the waiting period is unnecessary because most background checks for gun sales take place in minutes thanks to computer data bases and gun buyers who pass the check shouldn’t have to wait to take their gun home. But Tony Gibart of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin said the delay can deter an angry spouse from buying a gun to kill his or her partner. He says if background checks are so efficient they should also be required for private gun sales.

“States that have background checks on private gun sales have a much lower rate of domestic violence homicides for women in gun related homicides than states like Wisconsin,” Gibart said.

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But past efforts to expand background checks in the state have consistently failed to win support in the legislature.

Wisconsin gun rights advocates say it’s not feasible to require private gun owners who sell guns at gun shows to run background checks on all their customers. Only 18 states require background checks for handgun purchases when they are not purchased from a licensed dealer. Wisconsin is one of only eight states that currently requires a 48-hour waiting period for buying a handgun from a licensed gun dealer. Opponents of both the waiting period and expanded background checks, like the NRA say anyone who wants to use a gun for a criminal purpose can easily buy one on the black market to avoid a background check.