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Solutions

Waiting Periods

Waiting Periods

What is the problem?

A waiting period law requires a certain number of days to pass between the purchase of a gun and when the buyer can actually take possession of that gun. This creates a buffer between someone having a suicidal crisis and access to a gun.

Creating a buffer between someone having a suicidal crisis and access to a gun can be the difference between life and death. Waiting period laws require gun buyers to wait until a certain period of time has passed before they are able to access a gun they have purchased.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line for free from anywhere in the U.S.

Which states require a waiting period before gun purchases?

9 states have adopted this policy

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

Waiting Periods

Alabama has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Alaska has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Arizona has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Arkansas has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

California has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Colorado has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Connecticut has not adopted this policy

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Delaware has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Florida has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Georgia has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Hawaii has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Idaho has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Illinois has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Indiana has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Iowa has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Kansas has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Kentucky has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Louisiana has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Maine has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Maryland has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Massachusetts has not adopted this policy

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Michigan has not adopted this policy

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Minnesota has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Mississippi has not adopted this policy

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Missouri has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Montana has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Nebraska has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Nevada has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

New Hampshire has not adopted this policy

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New Jersey has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

New Mexico has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

New York has not adopted this policy

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North Carolina has not adopted this policy

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North Dakota has not adopted this policy

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Ohio has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Oklahoma has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Oregon has not adopted this policy

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Pennsylvania has not adopted this policy

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Rhode Island has adopted this policy

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South Carolina has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

South Dakota has not adopted this policy

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Tennessee has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Texas has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Utah has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Vermont has not adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

Virginia has not adopted this policy

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Washington has adopted this policy

Waiting Periods

West Virginia has not adopted this policy

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Wisconsin has not adopted this policy

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Wyoming has not adopted this policy

How it Works

When someone is considering suicide, days matter—and waiting periods can save lives.

Guns are by far the most lethal method of commonly-used methods of self-harm, with a fatality rate of about 90%. By contrast, less than 4% of people who attempt suicide using other methods will die, and the vast majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. Although guns are used in less than 6% of suicide attempts, more than half of suicide deaths are by gun. In a study of statewide suicide rate changes between 2013 and 2014, states with waiting periods saw a decrease in suicide rates, while those without waiting period laws had an increase.

Unlike the Charleston Loophole, which affects gun buyers whose records require further investigation to determine if they are prohibited, a waiting period applies to all gun buyers. This provides a “cooling off” period for the people who might reconsider their intentions in the interim.

Myth & Fact

Myth

Suicide is inevitable.

Fact

Suicide can be prevented. In fact, the vast majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. Most people who attempt suicide do not die—unless they use a gun. Across all suicide attempts not involving a firearm, 4% will result in death. But for gun suicides, those statistics are flipped: about 90% of gun suicide attempts end in death.

All Resources

Waiting Periods