AURORA – A bill to require a national mandatory three-day waiting period would save lives both from gun violence and suicide, a Harvard Business School professor said April 5 at a roundtable discussion about gun safety.
The event was co-hosted by U.S. Reps. Bill Foster, D-Naperville and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Schaumburg at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora. U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain and Harvard professor Deepak Malhotra. Nearly 100 people attended the session.
Malhotra, Michael Luca and Christopher Poliquin authored a study which found that handgun waiting periods reduces gun homicides by 17% and gun suicides by 10%.
“The debate on waiting periods is over, in the scientific community," Malhotra said. "Where the debate is not over is in rooms like this or in rooms all across the country.”
Malhotra said the legislation co-sponsored by Foster and Krishnamoorthi – Choosing Our Own Lives Over Fast Firearms Act or the COOL OFF Act – is based on their scientific research.
Citing the Harvard research, Krishnamoorthi said states with waiting periods have 750 fewer gun homicides per year than states without a waiting period.
Krishnamoorthi said nearly 1,000 more lives could be saved if mandatory waiting periods are adopted nationwide.
“Anger or suicidal impulses can inspire people to inflict harm on themselves or others,” Krishnamoorthi said. “The COOL OFF Act intends to provide a cooling-off period for those who are motivated by suicidal tendencies, anger or other violent but temporary intentions. As I said the other day, it takes the passion out of crimes of passion.”
The COOL OFF Act is one piece of a comprehensive set of gun safety laws, such as HR8, which requires mandatory background checks, closing the loophole for gun show and online purchases, and HR112, which enhances background checks for gun purchases.
The COOL OFF Act, which is HR1454, has not yet been passed in the House. HR8 and HR 112, both passed the House and are waiting for the Senate to take them up.
Foster said 30,000 people are killed by gun violence in America.
“Our thoughts and prayers are simply not enough,” Foster said. “Everyone deserves the right to go work or to school or without the fear of violence.”
Foster said Congress has a fundamental responsibility to act on common-sense gun reforms that can make it more difficult for violent events – such as as the recent mass shooting at Henry Pratt Company in Aurora – to occur.
“I’m proud to support legislation such as the COOL OFF Act to make a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. And to expand background checks, which passed the House in February,” Foster said. “These are measures that are supported overwhelmingly by Americans.”
Gun control has become an issue that is “politically totemic,” Casten said, in that it fires people up and stirs passion on both sides.
But Casten said people should rely on facts.
“It is a fact that the single best predictor that you are going to be a mass shooter is that you are a 14- to 45-year-old a white male with a history of domestic violence,” Casten said.
Wearing a red Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America T-shirt, Holly Fingerle of Olympia Fields, said she agreed with the COOL OFF legislation.
"I think it's desperately needed," Fingerle said.
But Stefan Cipot-101st, Plainfield, wearing a red MAGA hat and a jacket declaring he is a Vietnam veteran, disagreed.
"The laws have not prevented [any] gun violence at any time," Cipit-101st said. "How many people are killed in car accidents every year? Twice the number by gun violence."