Gun Waiting Periods Sought After Shootings


Towards Data Science

The fight between gun control and gun rights, resulting in controversy between several states on the enactment of gun waiting periods.

Gianna Iadevaia, Reporter

Asian American communities were recently affected by deadly Atlanta-area shootings on March 19th, one resulting in eight people killed. A report stated that the handgun used to terrorize this group was legally purchased. Some lawmakers and advocates have stated that if the state of Georgia had implemented a waiting period before obtaining a firearm, the shooting could have been avoided; as the shooter may not have acted on impulse.

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, stated, “It’s really quick. You walk in, fill out the paperwork, get your background check, and walk out with a gun. If you’re in a state of crisis, personal crisis, you can do a lot of harm fairly quickly.”

Waiting periods are only required in 10 states including California, Hawaii, Florida, and the District of Colombia. Many have critiqued other states for not joining this list, but Georgia Democrats are planning to introduce legislation that would require customers to have a five-day wait period between purchasing a firearm, and then receiving it.

Studies have shown that the implemented waiting periods may lower suicide rates via firearm by up to 11%, and gun homicides by about 17%, according to Giffords center.

States like Georgia have been allowing customers to walk out of gun retailers after background checks that could be as fast as 30 seconds, according to Criminal Watch Dog, an organization dedicated to tracking lawbreakers.

On Monday, March 31st a shooting broke out at a Colorado grocery store, King Soopers, resulting in ten people killed in the attack, along with a police officer. 10 days before the tragedy, the city of Boulder, Colorado had blocked a ban on barred assault weapons that was put in place in order to prevent mass shootings like this one, after a gunman opened fire in the grocery store. The shooting has sparked debate on whether Colorado should enact a waiting period.

Others, like Seo Yoon “Yoonie” Yang, whom is a leader with Students Demand Action, have said that the new laws will not fix deeply rooted problems like racism, misogyny, and violence. However, she agreed that the waiting period can assist with keeping guns out of the hands of those who would do harm after acquiring a firearm.

The National Rifle Association is a group that also opposes the thought of firearm purchase waiting periods. They argue that waiting periods create a large delay for people who are buying legally, while leaving illegal weapon transfers unaltered.

States like Arizona, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont are considering either creating waiting periods, or expanding them in response to this movement.