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New Polling: Eight in Ten Vermonters Support Waiting Periods on Gun Purchases

S. 169 Would Establish a 24-Hour Waiting Period for Gun Purchases

Polling Comes as Session Closes on Friday, Making This Week the Last Chance for Lawmakers to Send S. 169 to the Governor

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America today released polling conducted by SurveyUSA on behalf of Everytown. The results indicate the vast majority of Vermonters — 80 percent — support legislation that would establish a 24-hour waiting period for gun purchases. S. 169 would establish a 24-hour waiting period on all gun sales that require a background check. Just yesterday, the Vermont House Judiciary Committee advanced S. 169, and it now heads to the Vermont House of Representatives for a floor vote.

“Too many Vermonters have died by suicide, leaving families and communities devastated,” said Merry Shernock, a volunteer with the Vermont chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “These polling results show that Vermont is ready to change that. It’s time for our elected officials to read the writing on the wall and enact this life-saving legislation that has wide support.”

The survey interviewed 800 Vermont adults and found, among other results:

  • 80 percent of Vermonters support requiring a 24-hour waiting period for all handgun sales.
  • Vermont voters are in favor of gun safety legislation — 75 percent of Vermonters support the gun violence prevention legislation that was passed by Vermont lawmakers last year.

In Vermont, nearly 90 percent of all gun deaths between 2013 to 2017 were the result of firearm suicide killing over 300 Vermont residents. Waiting period laws require a certain number of days to elapse between the purchase of a firearm and when the purchaser can actually take possession of that firearm. In delaying immediate access to a firearm, waiting periods insert a buffer between impulse and action. Policies that create this buffer are associated with reduced rates of firearm suicide. Research shows access to firearms — meaning personal or household gun ownership — increases the risk of suicide by three times.