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Should Congress extend the waiting period for gun purchases from 3 days to 10?

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From the pages of In Business magazine.

Welcome to "Political Posturing," featuring opposing views on current issues important to Wisconsin's business community. In this column, small business owner Brad Werntz and blogger David Blaska offer their opinions from the left and the right, respectively.

Yes, because it meets the tests of common sense and reason.

By Brad Werntz

When he was nine years old, my great-grandfather walked into a hardware store and bought a .22 caliber, single-shot, bolt-action Remington, no questions asked. He learned to shoot with this rifle, and so did my grandfather, and so did my father.

When the time came, I learned to shoot with this weapon. Four generations of my family have passed this firearm down, one to another, along with the knowledge of how — and when and why — to use it. For many reasons, I haven’t yet taught my kids to shoot, but suffice to say that when I do, we’ll be using this old Remington.

From about sixth grade on, this rifle has been within relative arm’s reach of me. It was by my bed when I was in grade school, and I could have it in-hand within about 10 minutes, now. I’ve lived my life with complete and easy access to guns.

Still, though I own many guns, at the moment there are no firearms in my home. There hasn’t been for some time. What’s more, having lived through a violent home invasion and bears in my tent (more than one time), I can’t imagine why I need immediate access to a firearm. Mind you, I’ve shot a rifle five times in the last three years, and brought home four whitetails. The fifth shot was a coup de grace.

In fact, a few years ago I bought a shotgun for deer hunting. I waited three days and it was no problem. Waiting 10 days wouldn’t have been a problem for me, either. I try not to generalize, but honestly, three things are true of most everyone I’ve ever talked to who opposes reasonable gun laws:

  1. They’ve never defended themselves from a credible threat to their lives;
  2. By and large, they’ve never shot a living thing; and
  3. To a person, they have never spent a long night looking down a gun barrel, wrestling with thoughts of self-harm.

As a gun owner who has experienced all three of these things, I am very clear on why I support reasonable gun restrictions, including extending the waiting period for purchases.

Brad Werntz is a small business owner in Madison.

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