Do Waiting Periods Really Save Lives?

Requiring law-abiding citizens to wait some arbitrary period between the time they purchase a firearm and the time they take possession of that firearm has been a staple of the gun control left for a long time. The argument being that a waiting or “cool down” period will reduce homicides committed using firearms. But is that really true? Are waiting periods really effective? Let’s take a look.

There are about ten states that have some sort of firearms purchase waiting period. Five of those states apply the policy to all firearms while in the other five the policy applies only to handguns. 40 states have no policy These are 2015 numbers and may be slightly different today.

We first saw waiting periods when Congress passed the Brady Act in 1994 which included a five day waiting period for handguns. This waiting period ended in 1998 with the implementation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Arguments for waiting periods usually stand on the following:

  1. The waiting period allows time for the background check to flag prohibited persons
  2. The waiting period provides a cool down period to reduce crimes of passion
  3. The waiting period will reduce firearms related suicides

Let’s address each of these arguments.

  1. Routine background checks to spot prohibited persons are almost instantaneous today. They are not perfect for a number of reasons mostly due to how the database is updated by various agencies. Some prohibited persons do slip through the system. Be that as it may, about 11% of criminals convicted of crimes involving a firearm purchased their firearms in a retail shop. About 40% obtained them on the street and about 37% from family or friends. The reality is that, like most gun control laws, waiting periods have little impact on violent criminals.
  2. Here, we are supposed to believe that an individual who has decided to kill someone is going to run to their local gun shop, purchase a gun, and go out and kill that person. If waiting periods are intended to stop these individuals, why do people that already own firearms need to go through a waiting period when purchasing a new gun? Domestic violence is a terrible problem that needs to be addressed. But these are not crimes committed in the heat of the moment. People who kill in a domestic relationship are almost always known to law enforcement from multiple prior calls. They build up to murder over time. Waiting periods have little positive impact on these crimes. Unfortunately, there have been cases where people have been killed during the waiting period by those who were known threats.
  3. Over two thirds of the firearms related deaths typically cited by gun control advocates are suicides. Suicide is a mental health problem; it is not a gun problem. While waiting periods may prevent an impulse suicide, they will have no impact on someone who is determined to complete the act. Many countries with severe gun control policies in place have suicide rates much higher than seen in the U.S. Japan is just one example. Suicide should be addressed by mental health professionals, not by gun control advocates.

There are studies cited by the left claiming waiting periods save lives. I don’t link to those here as I try not to promote sources that I know are intentionally misleading or inaccurate. Most have been debunked by legitimate researchers. I do encourage you to seek them out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Two sources for unbiased and accurate gun policy information are the Crime Prevention Research Center and Just Facts. Both sites contain fully sourced accurate information. If you do a little research, you’ll find there is no evidence that waiting periods save lives. Like most gun control laws, they have no impact on crime or public safety but only infringe on the rights of law abiding citizens and make us all less safe. But gun owners already know that.

The right to self-defense is a basic human right. Gun ownership is an integral part of that right. If you want to keep your rights defend them by joining San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO) in San Diego, Orange County Gun Owners (OCGO) in Orange County, San Bernardino County Gun Owners (SBCGO) in San Bernardino County or Riverside County Gun Owners (RCGO) in Riverside. Support the cause by listening to Gun Sports Radio live on Sunday afternoon or on the internet at your leisure. Join the fight and help us restore and preserve our second amendment rights. Together we will win.


©2020 Joseph T Drammissi

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