- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2020


Democratic lawmakers in the Vermont Legislature are still trying to hammer out new gun laws after Republican Gov. Phil Scott last year vetoed gun legislation.

He had argued that Vermont has done enough to regulate firearms and that there wasn’t enough data on waiting periods.

On Thursday, two Harvard University researchers told lawmakers that waiting periods for buying firearms save lives.

WCAX-TV reports the team’s research estimates that waiting periods reduce death by suicide by 7% to 12% and reduce gun homicides by 17%. If every state had waiting period laws, it would prevent about 900 homicides and 950 suicides a year, the team said.

“This will save lives,” said Deepak Malhotra of the Harvard Business School. “That doesn’t mean that every gun policy that’s proposed should be enacted, but maybe this one should because the evidence is so clear.”

Democratic lawmakers say they might look at trying to override the governor’s veto or crafting a new bill that would extend the waiting period to two days. It’s unclear whether they have the votes to override the governor’s veto.

In a statement, the governor’s staff said Scott stands by his decision to veto last session’s bill. Rather than gun laws, he is focusing on the root causes of gun violence, such as suicide prevention, early intervention and criminal justice reform.

Gun advocates contend the solution is investing in more human services.

“Through mental health systems that respond to families in crisis, systems to deal with people who are in abusive relationships and systems which deal with people who are incarcerated,” said Bill Moore, of the Vermont Traditions Coalition.

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