Anecdotes Don't Justify Waiting Periods for Gun Purchases

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

If the right to keep and bear arms is to have any meaning, it has to begin with the gun purchase itself. That means people should be free to purchase guns unless they’ve been stripped of that right by due process for some reason.


Currently, those reasons are few, as they should be. A convicted felon can’t buy a gun and neither can someone who has been declared “mentally defective” by a court. Oh, and those with certain domestic abuse convictions as well.

Gun purchases for anyone not in one of those camps shouldn’t be restricted.

But a lot of people want waiting periods for gun sales. They think that we should be required to wait a few days before buying a gun and they don’t really care if we can’t afford to wait that long.

What’s more annoying is how they’ll use tragic anecdotes to try and justify it.

onna Morin of Hooksett told lawmakers that a proposed three-day waiting period to purchase any firearm would have stopped her 21-year-old son from buying one and then, 30 minutes later, shooting himself to death on Jan. 5, 2022 over the breakup with a girlfriend.

“He never exhibited signs of mental illness … he wasn’t a drug user,” Morin testified Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee about Nate.

Just before shooting himself in the family’s backyard while he was home alone, Morin said her son called 911 to report his own suicide so that law enforcement, and not his loved ones, would find him first.

“He just wasn’t in his right mind,” said Morin, a mother of three.

Morin said Nate, a senior at Worcester Polytechnic Institute at the time, had already lined up a job as a mechanical engineer once he graduated and showed no signs of depression.

“A catalyst was a breakup; the girl he loved had just broken up with him days before,” Morin recalled. “Losing her confused him and it broke his heart.”


That’s absolutely heartbreaking, especially because he literally ended his life over a girl when it sounds like he had everything else going for him. He’d easily be able to bounce back with a new, probably better relationship if he’d just held on.

But I can’t help but wonder how much of Morin’s push for waiting periods for gun purchases is because she feels guilty and wants to blame the system that failed to prevent her son’s suicide over her own perceived failure to prevent it.

I’m not saying it’s her fault, mind you. I honestly don’t see anything to suggest that it might be, but I know I’d probably blame myself if one of my kids took their own life and I didn’t even realize they were that depressed.

This, I should mention, is in New Hampshire.

I should also mention that there are plenty who against waiting periods on gun purchases.

Gun advocates insisted, however, that despite this and other personal tragedies, there’s no research showing that states adopting these waiting periods led to lower rates of violent crime or suicide.

“There is no evidence that these serve as cooling off periods,” said Justin Davis, state director for the National Rifle Association.

There really isn’t any evidence for such a thing.


While there are often more gun suicides in pro-gun states, that’s often because people already have guns.

In this case, though, had the person not been able to buy a gun, what are the odds that they wouldn’t have found some other way to take their life? Sure, it wouldn’t have been a “gun death,” but if that’s what your hang up is, you need help. Dead is dead and how someone gets that way only matters when it’s a natural cause versus a violent one.

The kick in the butt? Even lawmakers really don’t think this is about preventing things like suicides.

How do I know? Because of this:

Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, said her bill (SB 577) is a “suicide prevention” measure and carefully crafted to exempt from the waiting period law enforcement, the military, hunters who complete a hunter safety course and anyone who obtained a temporary restraining order or expressed to police that he or she feared for their lives.

Now, I’ll grant that the carve out for people who got a restraining order reduces the possibility of someone being killed while waiting to finish up their gun purchase. However, the fact that anyone who completes a hunter safety course is also exempt kind of illustrates that Altschiller isn’t that worried about suicides.


Let’s be perfectly blunt for a second. Hunters almost never need a gun right freaking now!

If there’s a group that can generally wait a few days for a gun, it’s probably your average hunter. They either have a hunting gun already and are just looking to get another one for whatever reason. Plus, it’s not like hunting season just sneaks up on you out of the blue.

Now, I’m not saying I support waiting limits for anyone, mind you, I’m just saying that hunters could probably be the one group that can wait a bit.

Yet there they are, exempted under this proposal.

A lot of hunters, however, buy long guns. Those aren’t exactly ideal for taking one’s own life or, in most cases, doing anything else besides hunting that most people are actually doing right here and now.

If someone who has completed a hunter safety course wants to kill themselves, they’ll probably have to buy another gun to do it, which they’ll be able to do right away.

See, what we’ve got here is someone using an anecdote to push an agenda–one meant to restrict gun purchases–in hopes that you’ll be so moved you’ll feel obligated to support these restrictions without thinking things through.

It’s a common anti-gun tactic and one that, frankly, I’m sick of seeing.


Morin can’t say that her son wouldn’t have taken his life if he hadn’t been able to carry out a gun purchase, but she’s trying to suggest it anyway, all while pushing a law that has enough exemptions to make it worthless for its stated purpose anyway.

Instead, the proposal is just enough of an infringement to cause problems for people who aren’t a risk to anyone.

Which is hardly unusual.

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