To the Editor:
I read with dismay Eric Olson’s column in Saturday’s paper complaining about the three-day waiting period now required for people who want to buy a gun in Illinois. By putting the term “cooling off” in quotation marks and talking about the assumption that if you’re given a gun the same day you pay for it, you might immediately go shoot someone with it, Mr. Olson doubts that the new law will reduce gun violence. That’s simply not true.
A 2017 Harvard Business School study found that states with mandatory waiting periods had 17 percent fewer killings and about 10 percent fewer suicides on average. In the 17 states with waiting period laws today, researchers estimate that about 750 homicides are avoided each year.
Although the majority of gun owners may be sensible, stable people with good reasons for wanting to own a gun, we all know many are depressed or angry people who commit violence with guns on others or themselves.
The inconvenience of a few days’ wait compared with lives saved? It’s not even a question.
I agree that mandatory gun safety training makes good sense, but I take issue when Mr. Olson concludes by saying that only training – and not a cooling-off period – is important. I would argue that we need both.