Waiting period laws require a certain number of days to elapse between a gun sale and when the buyer can take the firearm home.

The purpose of waiting periods on firearm transactions is to create a buffer between someone having a crisis who may be at risk of suicide from access to a gun. Additionally, waiting periods are used to ensure prohibited purchasers are not able to complete a firearm transaction through the Brady Background Check System.

Waiting Period laws work to address the Charleston Loophole.

Under the current Brady Background Check System, a federal firearms licensee (FFL) may transfer a firearm to a buyer after three business days even if the background check has yet to determine if the buyer is legally eligible to purchase a gun.

This gap in the Brady Background Check System is commonly referred to as the Charleston Loophole. In 2015, a white supremacist shot and killed nine Black worshipers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church – a historically Black church in Charleston, SC. Although the gunman was legally prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm, he was able to complete the purchase of the firearm used in the shooting because his background check was not completed in three days.

Waiting period laws ensure that no firearm is sold with an incomplete Brady Background Check.

Although the majority of NICS background checks are completed instantly, an average of 4,675 prohibited purchasers obtain a firearm from an FFL due to delays in the system greater than three days. Since 2008, over


firearms have been sold to prohibited purchasers at FFLs due to such delays.


Waiting Period laws are effective in preventing both firearm suicides and homicides.

Waiting Period laws prevent firearm suicide by extending the period of when an individual who may be going through a crisis purchases the firearm and when they can take the gun home. The vast majority of suicides are impulsive acts and guns are by far the most lethal method of self-harm.

Extending the period of time in which an individual has a suicidal crisis and when they have easy access to a firearm is instrumental in saving lives. In fact, a 2017 study found that waiting periods on firearm purchases are associated with a 7-11% decrease in firearm suicides. Conversely, when Wisconsin repealed its waiting periods law on gun sales, there was a 6.5% increase in firearm suicides in the state.

The same 2017 study found that waiting periods on firearm purchases are associated with a


decrease in firearm homicide.

Nra lawsuit supreme court

Public opinion overwhelmingly supports Waiting Period laws.

Nra lawsuit supreme court

A 2019 study found that 85% of non-gun owners and 72% of gun owners support mandatory waiting periods on firearm purchases.

To make your voice heard, tell your members of Congress to support the bipartisan bill to fix the Charleston Loophole at the federal level.

Which states require waiting periods?

Today, 22 States require waiting periods on firearm purchases.

New JerseyNew York
North CarolinaOregon
PennsylvaniaRhode Island

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