Thursday, June 25, 2015

Violent crime, suicides will go up, following repeal of 48-hour waiting period

Two grim predictions on the effects of repealing the 48-hour waiting period to buy guns

A week after a horrific shooting in Charleston, South Carolina left nine dead, Gov. Scott Walker signed away the requirement to allow a 48-hour waiting period before any individual could purchase a gun in the state.

He signed the law repealing the ban, as well as another law allowing retired law enforcement officers to carry guns on school grounds, in spite of the violence last week, because (in his words) waiting on signing or drawing back from the signing ceremony “would have given people the erroneous opinion” the bills “had anything to do with what happened in Charleston.”

That makes it better?

I can make two predictions based on the repeal of the law requiring a 48-hour waiting period. Sadly, both of them are pretty grim.

The first: Wisconsin’s suicide rate will go up. Statistically, waiting periods during the Brady Law helped prevent at least some suicides from occurring during the 1990s. And it’s been proven that the means to a suicide matters:
So what we’re left with is this: people who attempt suicide are very impulsive in their actions, usually making the decision to kill themselves and then acting on it within the first twenty minutes of doing so. Giving these people faster access to guns, in my mind, will undoubtedly lead to a higher suicide rate in the state.

As for my second prediction: Wisconsin will see higher rates of violent crime. This is in conjunction with several other bills that Scott Walker has signed into law this decade that have worked to deregulate gun ownership in the state.

After the governor signed concealed carry into law, we experienced a higher rate of violent crime, in spite of Walker actually promising that concealed carry would make “Wisconsin safer for all responsible, law abiding citizens.”

The deregulation of gun laws in the state didn’t make things safer. Violent crime went up, not down, as these charts demonstrate:

Why am I so confident in my predictions? Because it’s happened before, in South Dakota. After that state removed their gun waiting period (coincidentally, also a 48-hour wait), violent crime saw a dramatic rate increase of more than 70 percent from 2009 to 2013. And the suicide rate went up by more than 16 percent in 2010 compared to the previous four-year average.

Granted, there aren't any concrete studies that demonstrate that the change in policy actually resulted in these higher statistics. But if history is any indicator, it has shown that the deregulation of gun laws -- whether on the federal level or in the state -- has led to a higher rate of violence in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker is choosing to ignore this evidence as he seeks to uphold his A-Plus rating from the NRA ahead of a presidential run. It's shameful, and Wisconsin deserves better (and I'm really getting tired of saying that).

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