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From waiting periods to arming parading militias, Mountain West states mull contentious gun bills

St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office
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News brief

As the legislative sessions across the Mountain West wind down, lawmakers are debating several controversial gun bills – with very different aims.

Two bills in New Mexico, SB 427 and HB 100, call for a two-week waiting period before a gun purchase. And in Colorado, lawmakers are proposing a three-day waiting period. Similar bills in Utah, SB 50 and HB 89, failed this session.

George Mocsary heads the new Firearms Research Center housed in the University of Wyoming College of Law.

“Waiting lists are problematic for a couple of reasons," he said. "One: just the notion that a right delayed is a right denied.”

He also referenced a RAND Corporation study that says waiting periods may reduce total suicides because suicide by firearm is more likely to be fatal compared to other methods.

According to the study, “still, for some individuals, waiting periods may serve only to delay suicides rather than prevent them.”

Lisa Geller, the director of state affairs for the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said in a previous interview with the Mountain West News Bureau that she was encouraged to see states considering waiting periods.

“If we put time and space between an individual who is suicidal and the weapon itself there are significant reductions in suicide, because firearms are the mostly lethal means of suicide,” she said.

Meanwhile, a new law in Wyoming clarifies state preemption of local firearms regulations, precluding municipalities from enacting gun restrictions.

And in Idaho, a bill that would allow militias to parade in public with firearms is advancing.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2023 KUNM. To see more, visit KUNM.

Emma Gibson
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