Philly Columnist Calls For Month-Long Waiting Period On Gun Purchases

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

“There oughta be a law” is the “thoughts and prayers” of the Left. In the wake of a high-profile shooting like the one in Oxford, Michigan this week that resulted in the murder of four high school students and injuries to several more, anti-gun Democrats are quick to criticize anyone who dares to oppose their “commonsense gun safety” proposals, even when their ideas would clearly have done nothing to prevent the crime from happening.

Such is the case with Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch, who not only labels the Second Amendment “racist” and “anachronistic,” but apparently believes that the way to a safer society is to completely ignore the fact that the ability to own and use a firearm in self-defense is protected by our Constitution.

I’m not here to argue for the repeal of the 2nd Amendment, not because that’s not a good idea — it is, clearly. But it’s not politically feasible and would only distract from steps that could be taken to minimize that deadly carnage that has become America’s peculiar institution of the 21st century. Imagine a world where we treated gun violence — which, including suicide, claimed 45,000 U.S. lives in 2020 — with the same seriousness with which we regulate vehicle safety (42,000 deaths in the same period) or airport security (after 3,000 deaths in 2001).

I wonder why Bunch didn’t include a comparison to how we treat illegal drugs? Maybe because products like meth, heroin, and fentanyl are completely and utterly illegal for people to own, yet we saw 100,000 drug overdose deaths last year?

So while Bunch would prefer the Second Amendment be repealed, he knows that’s not going to happen. Instead, he’ll settle for pretending it doesn’t actually protect a right.

If the new wrinkle in firearm safety is too many new gun buyers with terrible impulse control, that problem screams out for longer waiting periods — say, a month — to finalize purchases without preventing law-abiding citizens from eventually obtaining a weapon.

This is a breathtakingly bad idea on a couple of different levels. First, there’s the constitutional issue (which, admittedly, Bunch doesn’t care about at all). But there’s also the fact that if waiting periods actually prevented violent crime, Chicago and Cook County wouldn’t have had more than 1,000 homicides this year. First-time gun buyers in Cook County have been waiting far longer than 30 days before they can legally purchase a firearm thanks to the delays in processing Firearm Owner ID applications on the part of the Illinois State Police. For most of 2020 and 2021, it was taking almost six months, on average, for a FOID application to be processed, and many applicants waited a year or more before receiving permission from the state to purchase a firearm.

The ISP says it’s waded through the backlog, but according to their own statistics its still taking an average of 120 days for first-time gun buyers to get the green light.

So Chicago has an even lengthier waiting period than what Will Bunch is demanding, yet homicides are soaring to numbers not seen in 30 years.

The last time Cook County had more than 1,000 homicides in one year was 1994, when there were 1,141 homicides. The record for Cook County is 1,229 homicides in 1991. Cook County had 986 homicides last year, a 40% increase over 2019’s total of 675.

Chicago alone has had 777 homicides so far this year, according to the medical examiner’s office. That’s more than the total number of homicides reported by Chicago Police all of last year, when CPD reported 769 homicides.

While the state of Illinois has made legal gun owners wait for months on end to purchase a handgun for self-protection, violent criminals have continued to ignore the state’s gun control laws (along with the laws forbidding carjacking, home invasion, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and murder). So much for Bunch’s bright idea.

I don’t blame Will Bunch for having an emotional reaction to the shooting at Oxford High School. We should react when there is a loss of innocent lives. But we shouldn’t let our emotions cloud our judgement, at least not if we’re hoping to “do something” that will actually make a difference. Waiting periods, storage mandates, universal background checks… none of them are going to curtail the drug and gang-related violence, crimes of opportunity, or the evil machinations of a troubled individual intent on slaughtering classmates or strangers. The Left can complain that thoughts and prayers don’t do anything, but I’d argue the exact same thing is true for the “commonsense” proposals offered up by those who promise safety at the expense of our right of armed self-defense.