Lawmakers propose reinstating handgun waiting period
Democratic lawmakers are moving to reinstate the state’s 48-hour waiting period for handguns, nearly four months after a law passed repealing the wait time.
Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd, D-Milwaukee, are proposing the measure, which would require gun purchasers to wait 48 hours before picking up a handgun.
Families of victims of gun violence argued that repealing the waiting period should not have been about the time it takes to do a background check, which is what Republican authors argued earlier in the year. The groups said a “cooling-off period” was needed, especially in cases of suicide.
Khary Penebaker, of Hartland, spoke emotionally of his mother’s suicide when he was a child.
“My mother missed my entire life because she had easy access to a gun,” Penebaker said. “I don’t blame the gun, but yet I blame her access to it during a time when she needed help and not a gun.”
Republican lawmakers have argued that a “cooling-off period” can work in reverse, preventing domestic violence victims from getting a gun to protect themselves.
“I don’t think the waiting period we have in place is necessarily at fault,” Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, said. “The person wishing to do harm, they’re the ones we should be worried about, and they’re going to get a gun any way they see fit.”
Democrats proposing the measure say they’re trying to take some kind of action in the state following mass shootings and statistics about suicide.
They also issued the bill the day after a jury awarded two injured Milwaukee police officers nearly $6 million in a case against gun dealer Badger Gun Inc. The officers argued the shop ignored warning signs that the gun was being sold to a man who was illegally buying the gun for someone else.
Taylor said the verdict may lead Democrats to consider other gun safety legislation.
Kleefisch said the verdict showed that the laws in the state worked, and that those who make illegal purchases should face stiff consequences.