24-Hour Wait Bill Advances In Vermont

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

If you’re wanting to hurt someone and need to buy a gun to do it, would a 24-hour wait for the gun stop you?

After all, we’re using words like “premeditated” at this point, so why would a waiting period of any length stop a potential killer? I mean, theoretically, I suppose it would stop them if their intended victim was killed in a car crash or something, but otherwise? Not really.


That doesn’t look like it’ll stop Vermont from implementing a 24-hour wait requirement for gun purchases.

The House Judiciary Committee voted seven to four Monday to advance the waiting period to the full House. It’s part of a compromise by leading guns rights groups and those who favor more restrictions. After sitting in the committee for the last few weeks, it will be up for a House vote later this week, just days or hours before leaders hope to adjourn for the year.

Part of the agreement includes no changes, so Committee Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, asked members to reject any amendments. The Senate passed the bill after scaling it back from 48 hours. Grad says its a compromise that protects public health and safety as well as constitutional rights.

And it’s still stupid.

While the committee heard testimony from experts that claimed waiting periods reduce both suicides and violent crimes, I’m unconvinced. While I can see how suicide might be averted if the individual is forced to wait, I don’t see it as a slam dunk either. A determined person will find another means, and until you start banning gravity or something, suicide is a mental health issue that doesn’t need to be addressed through legislation.

The argument that waiting periods avert violent crimes of any sort is beyond ridiculous.

People who lawfully purchase guns with the intent to use them for a crime are few and far between at best. Most get them from the black market like criminals tend to do, or they purchase them only to use them for a criminal activity much later.


Waiting periods are useless because all they do is delay the individual at best.

Meanwhile, it also delays the person who is in fear for their lives and needs a firearm for self-defense. As the threat grows, so does the need. So much so that by the time they go to get a gun, a 24-hour wait might well be fatal.

I suppose if the assailant used a knife, that would certainly account for the drop in gun crimes purported to result from waiting periods. Maybe it’s just me, but if it’s someone I love who is killed, I don’t give a damn if they were shot or stabbed. That’s not a significant factor in my thinking.

But knowing that my loved one sought to arm themselves against the threat and were told to come back tomorrow? That’s a whole other ballgame, and one no one should have to play.

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