Press Release

Giffords Criticizes Vermont Governor Phil Scott for Vetoing Handgun Waiting Period Legislation

The bill, approved by the House and Senate, would have established a 24-hour waiting period for all handgun purchases requiring background checks

June 10, 2019Giffords, the gun safety organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, released the following statement in response to Governor Scott’s veto of S. 169, which would have established a 24-hour waiting period on all handgun purchases following a mandatory background check.

Statement from Nico Bocour, state legislative director at Giffords:

“Over 100 people die from gun violence every day in our country. This is a problem that is impacting every family and every community, which is why Americans are demanding safer gun laws now. Vermont is in desperate need of critical tools like waiting periods. For those in a moment of crisis, this bill could have made all the difference. But Governor Scott ignored the demands from Vermonters of all backgrounds who wanted to see this lifesaving measure pass. Vermont communities deserve better. They deserve leadership that is committed to keeping their communities safe from gun violence.”

A report by Giffords Law Center, Confronting the Inevitability Myth: How Data-Driven Gun Policies Save Lives from Suicide, highlights the lethal connection between immediate gun access and suicide. The report finds that over half of all suicides result from self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Yet the link between gun access and suicide risk remains dangerously misunderstood, denied, and ignored. While the gun lobby continues to perpetuate the myth that guns play no role in suicide, the reality is the vast majority of people who attempt suicide survive their attempt, recover, and do not go on to die by suicide—unless they use firearms. This is why guns are used in 5% of suicide attempts but cause over 50% of suicide deaths.

Vermont currently requires no waiting period between the time of purchase and the actual physical transfer of a firearm, and the numbers show that suicide rates are much higher in states with weak gun laws and broad access to firearms. In 2018, the Vermont legislature took steps to decrease suicides by establishing an extreme risk protection order and requiring background checks on most gun sales.