Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a potential candidate for president in 2016, signed two bills into law on Wednesday that soften gun control in the state.
The first bill eliminates a 48-hour waiting period for individuals who want to purchase a gun, The Guardian reports. The second bill allows retired or off-duty police officers to carry concealed firearms into public schools.
The signing of the legislation occurred just one week after the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting that claimed nine lives and has sparked debate over stricter gun control laws in America.
Walker tweeted that the 48-hour waiting period is no longer needed because background checks are performed by firearm dealers at the time of purchase.
“Due to Nat'l Instant Criminal Background Check System, waiting period is no longer needed. WI joins 40 states with no 48 hour wait. #Act22,” Walker’s tweet read.
Most Wisconsin Democrats opposed the legislation to end the waiting period, arguing it would increase rates of suicide, crimes of passion, or violence against women. The “cooling off period” that the waiting period provides to prevent people from impulsively purchasing a firearm would cease to exist.
The Republican majority in the state Senate and the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the bills.
“I don’t know how many more women have to die. I don’t know how many more kids have to be murdered for us to do something about this,” Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor of Madison said during the assembly vote.
Walker said the signing of the legislation was scheduled before the Charleston shooting and that it went on as planned so that the two would not be considered influenced by one another, The Chicago Tribune reports.
"If we had pulled back on this, I think it would have given people the erroneous opinion that what we signed into law today had anything to do with what happened in Charleston," Walker said.
Walker is an outspoken supporter of gun rights, and has an "A+" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The NRA released a statement in regards to the bills, referring to them as a “victory for gun rights in Wisconsin.”
The new laws will take effect June 26, 2015.
Photo Source: iprimages/Flickr, Wikipedia