SB 427 Firearm Sales Waiting Period
Speaking Points from New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence
In 2021 in New Mexico, there was a 16.8% spike in gun deaths. There were 562 firearm related deaths of which 243 were homicides and other intents and 319 were suicides.
WHY SB 427
A waiting period can serve as an important safeguard from impulsive acts of violence with a firearm.
Studies show that the immediate purchase of firearms allows for people who are acting impulsively and emotionally to use that gun in a homicide or suicide.
In New Mexico 59% of gun deaths are suicide.
Suicide attempts are often impulsive and involve little planning. Many studies suggest that most suicide survivors contemplated their actions for only a brief period of time—often less than 24 hours—before making a suicide attempt.
Studies also suggest that a waiting period for the purchase of firearms is associated with a reduced rate of firearm suicide. In fact, a 2004 study by the National Research Council found that the risk of suicide is highest immediately after the purchase of a handgun.
REDUCTION IN HOMICIDE RATES
Similarly, studies find that some of the factors that incite violence against others, such as anger and/or rage, can be short-lived. A 2017 study by the National Academy of Sciences shows that waiting periods for the purchase of firearms resulted in a 17% reduction in homicide gun deaths.
SB 427 – HB 100 WOULD HELP CLOSE THE CHARLESTON LOOPHOLE
Waiting periods give law enforcement more time to complete background checks that can’t be completed in 3 days.
If a background check has not concluded after three days, the seller has the discretion to proceed with the sale despite the lack of a confirmation from NICS that the individual is eligible to buy a firearm. These sales are called “default proceed” sales. The default proceed sale process has become known as the “Charleston loophole” because it allowed the shooter who committed a hate crime in 2015 at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to obtain his firearm.
PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The risk that prohibited purchasers will be able to buy guns through default proceed transactions is particularly acute in the context of domestic violence because law enforcement agencies oftentimes do not have enough time to complete background checks. Waiting periods can give law enforcement agencies additional time to complete background checks.
In 2018, 22 percent of the cases in which a gun was transferred to a prohibited purchaser through a default proceed transaction involved someone with a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence or a domestic violence restraining order—a total of more than 850 guns.
In 2020 in New Mexico, the surge of gun sales during COVID put an unprecedented strain on NICS. The FBI conducted 24,571 background checks. This was a 45% increase from the same time in 2019.