Gov. Walker signs bills that loosen gun laws; one eliminates 48-hour waiting period

MILWAUKEE -- Governor Scott Walker, one week after nine people were shot and killed inside the Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina was in Milwaukee Wednesday, June 24th to sign a pair of bills that loosen Wisconsin's gun laws.

The all-but-certain Republican presidential candidate planned to sign one bill Wednesday to eliminate the state's 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.

Governor Scott Walker signs bill eliminating 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases

"This just allows Wisconsin's law to catch up with the 21st Century. This is something where today there's a national instant criminal background check system that enables us to get instant information about whether or not someone's eligible to possess a handgun," Walker said.

Walker says the new law doesn't change who is eligible to purchase a handgun -- it just speeds up the process. But some say the waiting period should have been left alone.

"In fighting against this bill, advocates for victims of domestic violence have said over and over again this is a critical protection," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks out against signing of bill eliminating 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases

Mayor Barrett is calling the new law a hypocritical move by lawmakers. He argues that if performing background checks can be done so quickly, why aren't they required for the sale of all guns?

"If the proponents of this legislation and the governor of this state cared about reducing domestic violence, they would apply that instantaneous background check to all sales of guns. But that's not what they're interested in doing. What they're interested in doing is currying favor with the NRA," Mayor Barrett said.

Governor Walker argues that eliminating the waiting period may actually help protect potential victims of domestic violence.

"One of the most dangerous times for a domestic violence victim is in the first few days after they seek to take action to leave the perpetrator of that domestic violence. This would give them one more option to be able to purchase something that if they felt threatened, to protect themselves," Walker said.

The other bill signed into law Wednesday will allow off-duty, retired and out-of-state police officers to carry firearms on school grounds.

The Republican-backed bills passed both houses of the GOP-controlled Legislature earlier this month. Supporters say the bills would allow people to better protect themselves, while opponents say they will make it easier for guns to fall into dangerous hands.