7 Day Waiting Period for Gun Purchases Passes the New Mexico Legislature, Evidence Shows they Reduce Violence


New Mexico will be joining 10 other states that have a waiting period or a "cool down" period for gun purchases. California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have waiting periods for purchasing firearms.

Do gun purchase waiting periods reduce violence?

Scientific research and papers such as Handgun waiting periods reduce gun deaths  by Michael Luca mluca@hbs.edu, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin and edited by Philip J. Cook, Duke University, Durham, Editorial Board Member Kenneth W. Wachter suggests; that waiting periods reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%...Waiting period laws that delay the purchase of firearms by a few days reduce gun homicides by roughly 17%. Our results imply that the states (including the District of Columbia) with waiting periods avoided roughly 750-gun homicides per year as a result of this policy. Expanding the waiting period policy to all other US states would prevent an additional 910-gun homicides per year without imposing any restrictions on who can own a gun.

Are waiting periods constitutional? 

According to the Brennen Center, the Supreme Court seems to think so.  Waiting periods vary, but the 3-day period proposed in Florida is quite standard. Recently, in Silvester v. Harris, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s 10-day waiting period, and in February the Supreme Court opted not to disrupt that ruling. Under the Silvester analysis, the shorter 3-day period proposed in Florida is constitutional. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Silvester, arguing that the lower court’s reasoning was flawed. No other justices signed on to his opinion.

Thus, on a request from the governor of New Mexico, in an effort to reduce crime and violence, she requested that the legislative branch enact a waiting period for gun purchases in the state of New Mexico.

The Legislative Branch Responded:

The HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL 12 amended by the senate has passed both houses of the New Mexico Legislature. This legislative item sparked controversy in creating a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of a gun. The original bill as proposed had a 14-day hold on gun purchases.

The New Mexico House Bill 129 was amended three times. The waiting period was introduced as 14 days but was changed to 7 days. Also, if the required background check is not completed within 20 days, the gun seller can transfer the firearm to the buyer.

All of the Republican Otero County legislators opposed the bill. Novice New Mexico State Representative John Block of Alamogordo said of the waiting period, “...We already have 30, 40-minute waiting periods for police officers in Albuquerque, Block said. “You can’t go waiting around for these people. You need those firearms now.”

The New Mexico House of Representatives on Monday concurred with Senate Amendments to HB 129, a bill that mandates a seven-day waiting period on firearm sales in the state. The measure passed the House 37-33 earlier this month and the Senate 23-18 in largely party-line votes and now heads to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) for a likely signature.

The bill was introduced originally mandated a 14-day waiting period with no exceptions and even included the additional wait for NFA-regulated suppressors, a stipulation that raised questions within the gun lobby as most ATF Form 4s for suppressor transfers typically take upward of six months to clear.

Per a release from the Governor's office, the bill is the first of more than 20 public safety bills introduced by the governor during this legislative session to pass. The session ends on Thursday.

“HB 129 is an important piece of public safety legislation that will undoubtedly save lives,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This legislation will help prevent gun violence and suicides – both of which are deadly public health and safety challenges in New Mexico.

“With less than two days left in the legislative session, this is the only public safety measure to pass both chambers so far. The clock is ticking, and I urge legislators to act on behalf of the New Mexicans they serve.”

The waiting period, also referred to as a “cool-off” period, allows individuals to reconsider rash, emotional decisions for self-harm or harm to others. Multiple studies have provided evidence supporting the effectiveness of waiting periods in preventing suicides and potentially, impulsive acts of violence. Furthermore, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics, death from firearms is the deadliest form of suicide with a mortality rate of approximately 90%.

The bill is headed to the governor's office for signature.

Source - Mica Maynard reporting from the Roundhouse for Alamogordo Town News on KRAZY KALH Radio.

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