DENVER — The 18-year old Florida woman who allegedly caused school districts to shut down across the Denver area on Wednesday was able to buy her gun within an hour or so of landing in Colorado.
Unlike 10 states and the District of Columbia, Colorado has no “waiting-day period” to purchase a firearm.
In fact, it would have been harder for the teenager to rent a car than buy a gun. Most major rental car companies at Denver International Airport require drivers be 21 years old and pay a higher fee to rent until they turn 25.
But at 18, any Colorado resident can buy a long gun. You must be 21 to purchase a handgun in Colorado. In both cases, one must undergo a background check performed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. In this case, the background check took about 20 minutes.
“The fact that she had just bought a gun is the threat and the fact she didn’t have to wait,” said Anne McGihon, who is director of the Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence. McGihon supports waiting-day periods because she said the restriction can save lives.
“The waiting-day periods can help prevent impulsive acts, both against others as well as suicide,” McGihon said.
McGihon said a cooling-off period not only allows for a more thorough background check, it helps prevent impulsive acts of violence. The 18-year old, who took her life at the base of Mt. Evans Wednesday morning, could not have bought a gun immediately in her home state of Florida. That state passed a three-day waiting period in response to the Parkland High School Shooting in 2018 that left 17 students and staff members dead.
“How can we have someone who doesn’t live here, come here fly in, 24 hours later shut down an entire metro area set of schools because she was able to purchase a gun?” said McGihon.
Dudley Brown, director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, told FOX31 that residents from other states can buy long guns (shotguns and rifles) in Colorado, but not a handgun due to federal regulations. He opposes any delays to a legal gun purchase.
“Waiting-day periods really haven’t stopped suicides. Most are premeditated and occur with guns that are already owned,” Brown said.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence disputes that, however, insisting studies show states with waiting-day periods have fewer suicides.
More information about which states have waiting-day periods can be found online.