One week after a racist killer walked into an historic black church in South Carolina and fatally shot the church’s pastor and eight of its parishioners, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) plans to make it easier for people in his state to buy guns. Walker intends to sign two pieces of gun legislation, including a bill that eliminates a state-imposed 48-hour waiting period for people planning to buy firearms, at a ceremony at the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s office Wednesday afternoon.
Since taking office, Walker has also signed bills permitting concealed carry of firearms and “establishing the so-called ‘castle doctrine’ in which homeowners are presumed to have acted correctly if they shoot an intruder on their property.”
Echoing similar language from National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, Walker told the NRA in February that he supports eliminating the waiting period because “we want to make sure the bad guys don’t get firearms, and the good guys do.”
This distinction between good guys and bad guys — as LaPierre put it, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” — is a staple of the NRA’s defense of expanded gun rights. It also has little basis in empirical data. A recent study by the Violence Policy Center found that for every justifiable homicide performed by a “good guy with a gun,” there are 32 criminal homicides committed by “bad guys” with guns.
Other studies confirm that greater access to guns leads to more deaths. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health determined that “for each 1 percentage point increase in proportion of household gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%.″ Similarly, a 2014 study by Stanford researchers determined that right-to-carry laws increase the rate of aggravated assault by 8 percent, and it also suggested that these laws “are associated with an increase in rape and robbery.”