AZ Student's Suicide Prompts Call For Waiting Periods

Suicide is something that many of us have a difficult time wrapping our heads around. What could be so bad as to push someone, especially a college student, to take their own life. As bad as life might be, is it really bad enough that killing yourself is the best option?

No, it’s not. It almost never is.

However, suicides also become part of the political landscape. Especially when you talk about guns. After all, guns are used in a number of suicides. Further, gun control advocates like to use suicide numbers in their claims about firearm-related fatalities.

Now, in Arizona, the suicide of a college student has many questioning the wisdom of allowing same-day gun sales.

At a rest stop on a highway north of Tucson, Alex Sanov made his loved ones members of a club no one wants to join.

Nine days after he was released from a psychiatric hospital — a stay that had seemed to do him a world of good – the 21-year-old University of Arizona student walked into a midtown gun store and walked out with the firearm he would use to kill himself.

Stopping at his nearby apartment on Oct. 3, he left the receipt for his $260 purchase on the kitchen table, then took his final drive.

An hour later, his short life was over.

Parents and friends believe Sanov, a 2017 graduate of Catalina Foothills High School, might have been saved were it not for an Arizona gun law that permits the same-day purchase of firearms.

I can’t even imagine what Sanov’s parents and friends are going through. I just can’t.

However, the beliefs of grieving parents cannot and should not be allowed to dictate the debate over one of our constitutionally-protected rights. Yet that’s what the media is doing. That’s why this news story exists in the first place.

And it’s on the media for not pointing out the obvious truth that guns aren’t the problem.

Sanov was clearly disturbed. He was in a psychiatric hospital–a stay that apparently didn’t do him very much good at all–and then less than two weeks after his discharge, he killed himself. The problem was that Sanov has issues that weren’t being addressed, not by his family or by mental healthcare professionals. Not after he was discharged, at least.

“But if he couldn’t have gotten the gun, he might still be alive,” his parents and friends appear to be saying, and that’s true. He might be.

Or, he might have used any of a thousand other methods to take his own life, many of which are almost as much of a sure thing as using a gun. There’s no guarantee that such a law would save anyone’s life, much less Sanov’s.

Meanwhile, there are people who desperately need those same-day gun sales. If someone’s life is being threatened, being able to buy a gun that day means a peace of mind they don’t get when they way three, five, seven, or however many days someone wants someone to wait before purchasing a firearm. Those waiting periods aren’t making people safer.

In fact, those waiting periods are absolute torture for someone under some kind of threat. For however many days, they have to hope and pray that the person threatening them won’t come, that the threat is empty and meaningless. As such, they’re being victimized each and every day they’re denied their right to buy a firearm for their own self-defense.

Further, guns are used more often to defend human life than to take it. That’s based on pretty much every estimate out there, even those by anti-gun groups who have a vested interest in understating the effective use of firearms.

Because of that, most people who buy a gun aren’t going to claim their own life with it. Treating everyone like they’re likely to kill themselves isn’t remotely sane.

Plus, if Sanov had a plan to kill himself with a gun, why would anyone believe he’d be stopped by a waiting period? All it would do is delay the act. It wouldn’t necessarily stop it.

Finally, let’s also remember that the Second Amendment is a right. A right delayed is a right denied, after all. Telling people they have to wait to buy a gun is like telling people they have to wait to put in notice on a job or wait to buy a computer or wait to speak out against the government. None of that makes any sense, so why is it acceptable to make people wait to buy a gun?

Then again, the Second Amendment is a second-class right these days, at least in the minds of many.