Wisconsin lawmaker moves to repeal 48-hour handgun waiting period to avoid extra 45-minute drive
A Wisconsin lawmaker has proposed repealing Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period to buy a handgun, calling the inconvenience of having to return later to pick up the weapon a “time tax,” reports Channel 3000.
Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) is circulating a bill to eliminate the requirement enacted to allow for time to run background checks as well as for a “cooling off” period designed to help guard against acts of impulsive violence by purchasers.
According Wanggaard, background checks are now almost instantaneous and the waiting period is a relic of the past.
“Generally within the hour, they know whether or not someone can purchase the firearm, and by that time, you’re about finished up with your purchases in the store,” Wanggaard said. “This just doesn’t make any sense to keep this restriction on the books.”
Wanggaard calls the 48-hours waiting period a “time tax.”
“I can’t walk in a door and purchase one without having to come back again,” Wanggaard said. “There’s all the driving involved because that’s 45 minutes to where I purchase my firearms from where I live. So now it’s causing me more time and money to be able to do that.”
According to domestic violence groups, the waiting period is necessary to protect potential victims, allowing them time to seek assistance or help from authorities.
“You have to ask yourself if someone wants a gun instantaneously or within an hour or two, why do they really need it that quickly?” said Tony Gibart, with End Domestic Violence Wisconsin. “It seems if someone needs it very quickly, chances are they are up to no good.”
Wangaard — a former police investigator — dismisses those concerns, saying there are no restrictions on long guns and other items that can be used as weapons to assault someone.
“There’s also no waiting period on knives and edged weapons and a lot of homicides occur that way,” he explained. “Are we going to put a 48-hour waiting period on a set of kitchen utensils or baseball bats?”
A local gun seller is not entirely supportive of Wangaard’s bill, calling the waiting period “just part of business.”
According to Brett Fankhauser, owner of Deerfield Pistol and Archery Center, his customers might enjoy the instant gratification of walking out the door with their handgun purchase, but he has some reservations.
“I would say yes for the fact that I wouldn’t want someone to buy a gun here and run off out the door and hurt somebody or themselves,” Fankhauser said. “There’s that aspect that as a guy that sells guns, I don’t ever want someone to get hurt with one I sell.”
According to Wanggaard, he has bi-partisan support for the bill expected to be introduced this week.