Posted by: Jay | April 9, 2008

Pulling Hair Out

Attempting to rationalize with people who have no interest in preserving second amendment rights is like trying to rationalize with a three year old as to why he can’t have a cookie. It’s aggravating almost to the point of insanity. Let’s look at the issue of waiting periods. Of course, waiting periods are one of those “common sense” or “reasonable” gun control laws and if you’re opposed to them, well then their must be something wrong with you.

Waiting periods made sense when instant background checks were not available, as enough time was needed to see if the person was eligible to purchase the weapon. However, with instant background checks in place, the waiting period is pointless. And in asking somebody what the value of a waiting period is, those who support them will inevitably bring up the “cooling off” factor. Of course, a waiting period never actually prevents a person from doing harm to another person. All it does is legally prevent them from purchasing a gun at a licensed dealer. Most states do not have the restriction for private sales and a person hell bent on shooting somebody will take desperate measures and find that gun.

But what about the person who needs that gun for protection? An estranged spouse or boyfriend threatens to kill a woman. Why should she have to wait 3-7 days in order to protect herself? The anti-gun person responds that if the woman doesn’t have to wait, then neither does the man. That is true. But again, a person that is obsessed with doing harm will look for another way to do harm to that woman, even if it means using his fists, a knife, baseball bat or obtaining a gun in some other way.

I said the following to somebody:

You have to understand that a waiting period is not some magic elixir that puts a person into a state that says, “I must wait 72 hours before I go and shoot that person.”

To which somebody responded:

Uh, actually that is exactly what a waiting period would do. Make you wait before you go and shoot a person.

Bear in mind, this fellow is one of the more rational people debating the issue. But that’s how they think about it. It’s like trying to say that because robbing banks is illegal, people will not rob banks. The thing I have the most trouble with is attempting to get people to see the difference in the mindset of the law abiding citizen and the person intent on committing a crime. That raises the next question: Do waiting periods have any affect on crime? The short answer is no. Clayton Cramer wrote a piece 15 years ago about the waiting periods in California and the results are pretty typical of what most people would expect.


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