Waiting Periods for Gun Purchases Save Lives, Study Finds
It might seem like common sense that mandatory waiting periods before gun purchases could save lives. Now, a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences seems to bear out that assumption. The study, by Harvard Business School researchers Michael Luca, Deepak Malhotra, and Christopher Poliquin, found that waiting period laws reduce gun homicides by 17 percent.
The HBS researchers reviewed waiting period laws across five decades, from 1970 to 2014, and correlated that data with information on firearm related deaths from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
"Our results," the study's authors wrote, "imply that the 17 states (including the District of Columbia) with waiting periods avoid roughly 750 gun homicides per year as a result of this policy. Expanding the waiting period policy to all other U.S. states would prevent an additional 910 gun homicides per year without imposing any restrictions on who can own a gun.”
“Waiting periods," they concluded, "led to large and statistically significant reductions in gun violence." Previous studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000 and another in 2012, had determined that waiting periods did not have appreciable impacts on U.S. gun deaths - including both suicides and homicides.