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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 19, 2021 02:58 PM
From: Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishing a 72-Hour Waiting Period for All Firearm Transfers
Firearm violence kills about 40,000 Americans, including 1,600 Pennsylvanians, each year through mass shootings, suicides, urban firearm violence, family shootings, and police shootings. As with any widespread, complex public health crisis, it will take a variety of solutions, policies, and interventions to resolve.  

One important element of a comprehensive approach to firearm violence prevention is a waiting period for firearm transfers. Under Pennsylvania law, there is no waiting period to buy a firearm, and no licensure or permitting requirement. I will soon introduce legislation establishing a 72-hour waiting period for all firearm transfers in the Commonwealth. This is a companion measure to House Bill 1306, introduced by Representatives Sanchez and Zabel.  
Research has shown that waiting period laws reduce both suicides and violent crime. Many studies suggest that most suicide survivors, for example, contemplated their actions for only a brief period of time—often less than 24 hours—before making a suicide attempt. More than 60 percent of firearm deaths are suicides; reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal means is an important part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. Similarly, studies suggest that some of the factors that incite violence against others, such as anger and rage, can be short-lived.  
Waiting periods are supported by the American Medical Association, the National PTA, a majority of Americans, and a majority of firearms owners. The Giffords Law Center calls waiting periods for the possession of firearms “a commonsense way to prevent impulsive, volatile acts of gun violence.” By delaying immediate access to firearms, waiting periods can help prevent impulsive acts of firearm violence, including firearm homicides and suicides. Ten states, including New Jersey and Maryland, and the District of Columbia have waiting periods that apply to the purchase of at least some types of firearms.  

Please join me in cosponsoring this bill that will save lives in our Commonwealth.  

Introduced as SB761