In a study conducted by the Harvard Business School and published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a mandatory Waiting Period for gun purchases could prevent up to 750 gun-related deaths annually, the New York Times reported. If this practice was implemented in all states across the entire country, the study reveals that the deaths prevented could go up to 910 per year.

Motivated by a mass shooting that occurred at an elementary school in in 2012, professor Deepak Malhotra, Michael Luka, and a doctorate student Christopher Poliquin set out to find a politically viable law that does not infringe on the Second Amendment.

Analysis of the study

To get a better understanding of waiting periods and their effects, the researchers analyzed two sets of data; one was from statistics which recorded the changes in gun-related deaths that occurred between 1970 to 1994. The research concentrated on States that had mandatory waiting periods. The result was a significant drop in gun-related deaths in those states, at a rate of 17 percent or approximately three dozen fewer fatalities.

The second analysis produced the same results and used the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, concentrating on 1994-1998. The Act's name was taken from former White House Press Secretary, James Brady, who was shot and left paralyzed after an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The gun-related deaths again dropped by a similar margin during the period the researchers analyzed.

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State waiting periods

According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, states have varied waiting period requirements for people intending to buy guns. For example, Hawaii has a two-week waiting period for a gun buyer. During this time, the license required to purchase a gun is processed.

In Illinois, the waiting period is only one day, depending on the type of gun one intends to purchase. Before 1998, a waiting period was a national requirement across the country, but the measure, which was only temporary was shelved after federal background checks were introduced. Individual states were then left to determine their own waiting periods, and create gun-laws that were best suited and tailor-made for their communities and environments.

The new study according to Prof. Malhotra provides a law that does not take away the right to own a gun, yet reduces gun-related deaths if implemented. The timely release of the study comes when the debate on the best way to prevent gun deaths is raging, after the Las Vegas shooting.

The New York Times reports that guns are responsible for the deaths of around 33,000 Americans annually.