Require gun waiting periods

Prevention, Early Intervention, & Youth
social determinants of health
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Coverage & Standards
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Federal department
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house committees
House Judiciary Committee
senate committees
Senate Judiciary Committee


To prevent suicides and other gun-related violence, Congress should pass legislation to require gun buyers to wait 7 to 10 days before accessing a gun they have purchased.


Tragically, 90 percent of suicide attempts with guns are fatal, whereas 4 percent of suicide attempts not made with firearms end in death. Many individuals who die by gun suicide act impulsively and could have been saved by a waiting period for gun purchases.[1][2] A waiting period requires gun buyers to wait a certain amount of time before taking possession of a firearm they have purchased. The waiting period allows time for a background check, a cooling-off period, and an intervention or counseling for individuals who may be in distress.[2]

Waiting periods have proven to reduce firearm suicides by creating a buffer of time that can save lives. They are also supported by most Americans, including gun owners. However, only 10 states and the District of Columbia have waiting periods for all or some types of firearms.[3] The federal government does not require a waiting period for gun purchases, except for cases where a background check is delayed for up to 3 days.[2] Requiring gun buyers to wait 7 to 10 days before accessing a gun they have purchased would provide sufficient time for background checks and cooling-off periods.


1. Everytown for Gun Safety. "Waiting Periods.". Last Accessed July 19, 2023.

2. RAND Corporation. "The Effects of Waiting Periods." Last Accessed January 10, 2023.

3. Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "Waiting Periods." Last Accessed July 19, 2023.