Vermont House to decide on 24-hour waiting period for handguns

Local News

A much-anticipated vote in the Vermont House on a bill to require a 24-hour waiting period to buy a handgun is expected in the State House sometime Wednesday evening.

The bill has already cleared the state Senate, and if approved by the full House, could quickly land on Gov. Phil Scott’s desk. The governor has not said whether he would attempt to veto the bill.

Public debate on S.169 has been emotional. Gun-rights supporters, who have turned out in large numbers, say making law-abiding citizens wait 24 hours before a handgun sale can be finalized infringes on their Second Amendment rights.

Supporters, however, say waiting can prevent some suicides and save lifes, and some backers have pushed for 48- or 72-hour delays.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have waiting periods that apply to some or all firearms, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a pro-gun control policy group. Three states — Iowa, Maryland, and New Jersey have waiting periods for handgun purchases only.

The Giffords center says research hows that rates of suicide and homicide are lower in states with waiting periods.

The National Rifle Association argues that and other research on waiting periods is flawed, and there is no evidence that so-called cooling-off periods work to reduce firearm deaths.

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