AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File
There’s a line of thinking that waiting periods stop suicidal people. Somehow, a 24-hour delay makes people completely reevaluate their lives, and they get help before taking their own life.
Either way, waiting periods, an idea that once seemed to be on its way out with state legislators, is now making a comeback. So much so that Vermont is one of many states debating the legislation. The state’s set to vote in the state House today. (Vermont hasn’t as of this writing, but by the time you read this, that may have changed.)
House lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.
S. 169 passed the Senate overwhelmingly in March. Backers called it an effort to provide a ‘cooling off’ period for Vermonters in crisis in an effort to reduce suicide.
But the bill saw no action in the House until the Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to recommend passage late Monday.
The original Senate bill called for a 72-hour waiting period on all gun sales but was scaled back to 24 hours and now would only apply to handguns sales.
Some sportsmen’s groups say it still infringes on Second Amendment rights.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “A right delayed is a right denied.”
Even scaling the waiting period back to 24 hours is delaying someone’s right to keep and bear arms. It’s delaying it not because they’re a risk, but because someone somewhere might do something, so everyone has to be punished accordingly.
It’s like the entire class getting detention because Joey threw a spitball at the teacher.
While proponents will continue to point out studies that claim waiting periods may well curb suicides, I’m going to say something that may be a little controversial in some circles, I’m sure.
I don’t want the government trying to use laws to stop suicides.
Look, I would stand to benefit from reduced suicides. As a Second Amendment writer, I stand to benefit a great deal. A substantial drop in suicides would lower the number of supposed gun-related fatalities enough that it would make other forms of gun control a harder sell.
The problem is, to get to that point, we’re going to have to pass laws that will interfere with an individuals ability to protect themselves from outside threats.
In other words, people may die because the government wants to protect someone else from themselves.
I’m sorry, but I’m not OK with that. If someone wants to kill themselves, they’ll find another way. Assuming that they want to die and it’s not a cry for help, they’ll likely take steps to make sure they won’t be found until it’s too late, so even claims that people may survive other suicide methods is an unconvincing argument.
Meanwhile, someone who needs a gun may well be brutally murdered. There are no alternatives for that person. Without a firearm, they’re nothing but a victim. They couldn’t afford to wait 24 hours for a gun.
This nonsense was stupid years ago when it was first proposed, and it’s stupid now.