March 17, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
Rebecca Bell, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and president of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
(MARCH 17, 2023) Rebecca Bell, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and president of the Vermont chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, supports legislation making its way through the House of Representatives that would establish a 72-hour waiting period for all gun purchases and a so-called safe storage provision that would require gun owners to keep their weapons securely locked if a child, or someone else who shouldn’t have a gun, would otherwise be able to gain access, according to Vermont Public.
One hundred and forty-two Vermonters died by suicide in 2021, the highest yearly total in state history. Most of those deaths happened by gun.
“There’s oftentimes a thought, well, if somebody has a thought in their mind that they want to die by suicide, they’re just going to find a way. So if they can’t get a firearm, they’re just going to find another way to do it,” Bell said. “But that’s not actually what we find. We find that sometimes just thwarting the plan in their mind is enough to actually make no attempt.”
The more time between the moment someone has a suicidal impulse, and the moment they’re able to obtain a firearm, Bell said, the less likely it is they’re going to die.
Waiting periods and safe storage help buy that time, according to Bell. And she said that’s why the legislation has the support of the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, the Vermont Psychiatric Association, and the University of Vermont Health Network.
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