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Tulsa shooting highlights waiting times for gun buyers

DEVELOPMENT… The story will be updated as new information can be verified. Updated 3 times

SEATTLE — When convicted of killing three teenagers and seriously injuring another at a house party north of Seattle, Allen Ivanov said he was sorry and couldn’t explain why he had done it.

But he noted one factor that allowed him to carry out the filming – “the ease of acquiring a firearm”. The 19-year-old had purchased the assault rifle a week earlier and was so unfamiliar with the weapon that he sat in his car outside the party and studied the owner’s manual before to open fire on his ex-girlfriend and others.

This theme repeated itself, yet again, in America’s latest series of mass shootings – in Buffalo, New York; Uvalde, Texas; and Tulsa, Oklahoma – which has claimed 35 lives in less than three weeks. It reignites the debate on whether restrictions such as waiting times and banning young adults from buying semi-automatic rifles could have saved lives.

“If those had been in place, it would have made a difference,” said Paul Kramer, who led a successful effort in 2018 to impose a 10-day waiting period on purchases of semi-automatic rifles in the US. Washington State, as well as a ban for young adults. purchase such weapons, after her son Will was seriously injured in the Ivanov shooting two years earlier. “These mass shootings would not have gone the way they did, and very likely lives would have been saved.”

Only nine states and Washington, DC have explicit waiting periods before people can buy at least some types of firearms. Restrictions can give authorities more time to conduct background checks and prevent impulsive and emotional people from immediately accessing weapons they could use to kill themselves or others, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent. Gun Violence.

The federal government does not have a waiting period. A bill that passed the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives last year would extend the review period for background checks from three days to 10, but Republicans oppose it and won’t. are not part of ongoing negotiations in the Senate about how Congress can respond to the recent massacres. .

In Tulsa, authorities said the gunman who killed his surgeon, another doctor and two other people purchased an AR-style rifle hours in advance on Wednesday, as well as a handgun on May 29. The shooter, Michael Louis, 45, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, had recently undergone surgery and blamed his doctor for continuing to suffer from back pain.

In Uvalde, Texas, the 18-year-old shooter who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School had purchased two guns the previous week.

California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia have waiting times for purchases of all types of weapons, ranging from three to 14 days. Minnesota and Washington have waiting periods for handguns and semi-automatic rifles, while Maryland and New Jersey only have waiting periods for handguns.

Additionally, several other states, including Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts, require buyers of at least some types of firearms to first obtain permits, sometimes including the completion of safety courses. These restrictions can function as waiting periods.

Oklahoma does not have a law mandating a waiting period, but some Democratic lawmakers have called for a special session of the Legislature to address it, among other measures against gun violence after the Tulsa shooting.

“Oklahoma students will be in school in two months,” said House Minority Leader Emily Virgin. “If we don’t act before that, it will be because the legislator does not have the will to do so. This is something I hope all Oklahomans pay attention to.

They suggested a waiting period for gun purchases, raising the state’s minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, and a “red flag” law, allowing seizure temporary firearms to persons who could pose a danger to themselves or others. These proposals will likely go nowhere in a GOP-controlled legislature that has pushed for years to relax state gun laws.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is running for re-election, said last week after the Texas shooting that it was too early to talk about gun policy.

Florida stands out as a Republican-led state that imposed gun restrictions after a mass shooting. In 2018, after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, 14 students and three staff were killed, then governor. Rick Scott signed a law providing for a three-day waiting period and raising the minimum age to purchase guns from 18 to 21.

Scott, now a U.S. senator, “encourages all states to review the actions he has taken in Florida to determine what works best for their state,” his communications director, McKinley Lewis, said in an email on Friday.

Nationally, about a third of mass shooters purchased a gun within a month of their crimes, said James Densley, co-founder of The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research group that tracks shootings in mass dating back to 1966.

According to a 2017 Harvard Business School study, time-out laws that delay gun purchases by days reduce gun homicides by about 17%. But Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, called the waiting periods “an ineffective policy in trying to affect gun crime.”

“The big concern we have is that when people want to exercise their right to bear arms, especially when they’re using a gun for the first time, they’re being delayed in their ability to get the tools they need. need to protect themselves,” Paredes said. said.

Daniel Webster, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, said waiting periods are important and it’s obvious to him that more states aren’t requiring them: from Many gun laws, he said, are “written by people who sell guns.”

Proponents say requiring several days, or even a week or more, between the purchase and delivery of a gun provides significant “cooling off” time for someone angry or contemplating suicide. .

“If you get, for whatever reason, a person who buys the gun to use it to hurt others, the fact that they can’t get the gun into their hands immediately can provide an opportunity for the situation to change the moment they get it, assuming they have the right to get it in the first place,” Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha said.

Giving law enforcement enough time to conduct a thorough background check is another benefit of extending the waiting period, he said.

Hawaii has the longest wait time in the United States, at 14 days. Alan Beck, an attorney representing residents who are challenging various aspects of the state’s gun laws, said the two-week period seems arbitrary. If this is a cooling off period for someone who is angry, he said it would have no effect on potential gun buyers if they already owned a gun.

But State Sen. Karl Rhoads said he thinks the waiting period combined with other strict gun control laws worked, noting Hawaii has a low homicide rate.

“If you’re really mad about something and you can go buy a gun and you can get it immediately, then you can act on your impulse,” Rhoads said. “If you have to wait a few weeks, you can calm down and think better.”

Former Florida State Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat who represented Parkland in 2018 and is now running for Congress, said waiting periods alone are not enough. Raising the purchase age, passing red flag laws, increasing mental health spending and strengthening school safety are all essential, he said.

“No change is going to make a big difference,” Moskowitz said. “But every change added together is.”


Associated Press writers Anthony Izaguirre in Tallahassee, Fla.; Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu; Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island; Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City; Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Don Thompson in Sacramento, California, contributed to this report.


Follow AP coverage of the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, here: