House Judiciary hears more on 24-hour handgun purchase waiting period

Michael Bielawski/TNR

STILL IN GRIEF: Rob Black, the father of gun suicide victim Andrew Black, who shot himself after purchasing a gun Dec. 6, 2018, told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to impose a waiting period for gun purchases.

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday heard more testimony on S.169, an act relating to firearms procedures that would impose a 24-hour waiting period on handgun purchases.

The act is a culmination of other Senate bills, including the waiting period and a red-flag provision that allows physicians to determine someone a threat to himself or others for the purpose of removing guns. Another bill in the Legislature seeks to loosen restrictions on standard capacity magazines coming into the state for gun competitions.

The committee heard from Rob Black, the father of Andrew Black, who committed suicide within hours of purchasing a gun Dec. 6, 2018, at his home in Essex. He and his wife, Alyssa Black, had already provided their story to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. On Wednesday he again urged the committee to impose a waiting period.

“I truly believe that if this law was in effect on Dec. 6, 2018, he would still be alive today,” he said.

He explained that his son had a dramatic reaction to something he saw on social media — a photo of an old girlfriend with a new boyfriend. Earlier this month Alyssa Black described how for days their son presented himself as relatively normal and going about day-to-day activities, even appearing to the gun salesman as in a stable mood just hours before his death.

An examination of the son’s phone, however, revealed he was upset and was conflicted about following through on the suicide.

“He was at home having this text message exchange with the old girlfriend, and if you follow it over the 36 or 40 hours, it went from anger to self-pity to all kinds of different emotions he was having, and he almost had this count-down of when he was wanting to kill himself.”

He noted how his son was in the relationship for about two years.

“They did everything together and their friends were the same friends, and he was losing that at the same time,” he said.

In one of his final text messages to the girlfriend, Andrew Black showed a picture of the gun he used. Just about an hour later his parents came home, and the police were already there.

“He could have made dinner with his mother or watched the hockey game with me, which we did every evening,” Rob Black said. “Just something to snap his mind out of where it was.”

The Blacks have been advocating for the creation of a waiting period up to 72 hours prior to gun purchases. They also support safe storage laws that require guns to be locked away when not in use.

Chris Bradley, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs, explained to the committee why gun-rights advocates are against the waiting periods. He reiterated that some lives could inadvertently be put in danger during a waiting period.

He also said passing a law based on such a rare event isn’t good policy. Statistics show, Bradley said, that in the last 20 years only four suicides were committed following a gun purchase.

He cited another statistic that showed guns are seldom used for suicides.

“Of those 1,023 attempted suicides [for 2015 and 2016], 1 percent were attempts with a firearm,” he said.

On the potential danger that the waiting period might create, he again noted that the Vermont Judiciary reports 3,380 Relief From Abuse orders in 2018, and said that these are instances where the victims were in real danger.

“These cases represent situations where a victim is able to convince a court that they are under a real threat of bodily injury or even death, such that the court will issue an order to keep the parties separated,” he said.

Bradley also said a waiting period violates Article 16 of the Vermont Constitution, which states “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state.”

Finally, he described a waiting period as well-intentioned but ill-conceived.

“No matter how well-intentioned a waiting period may be, no matter what it might possibly save just one life, a limit is being placed on the unalienable right of self-defense, and in doing so there is the inescapable appearance that the powers given to the legislature are being exceeded and ignored — such that it is likely that there will be yet another court challenge,” he told the committee.

William Moore, firearms policy analyst for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, offered a similar opinion against waiting periods.

“What continues to be missing from the arguments by supporters of the waiting periods is a balanced approach that weighs the access restrictions for potential victims against the asserted suicide prevention benefits,” he said.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Michael Bielawski/TNR

10 thoughts on “House Judiciary hears more on 24-hour handgun purchase waiting period

  1. As time moves forward, we are learning more and more about what really happened to Andrew Black. It wasn’t a sudden or spontaneous event. A waiting period wouldn’t have made a difference.

    First off, he wasn’t a kid. He was a 23 year old man. The gun he purchased wasn’t his only gun. His parents locked up the other gun and he had no access to it. Why would parents lock the firearm of an adult man? My guess is they were becoming worried about his mental state. His mother said she bought him a beer making kit when he was 16, and he loved his beer. Now is that responsible parenting.
    His cell phone was in a 36 hour countdown, so he obviously was planning something…. it didn’t just happen.
    His girlfriend broke up with him. Was it possible that he was becoming paranoid? he was texting her up to the time he took his own life.
    Look, this is tragic, but the left wing anti’s are using his death to further push their agenda. Baruth and Lalonde don’t care one bit about Andrew or his parents. This is a gold nugget that has fallen into their laps. By carefully crafting the narrative they are exploiting his death for their socialistic agenda. They don’t give a rats about the constitution, or fairness.
    These people fully plan to disarm Vermonters. They say a waiting period is a minor inconvenience. Well when you add that to red flag laws, magazine capacity limits, raising the age to buy a gun, suggesting we require Firearms Identification Cards, and the list goes on, it becomes a lot more than an inconvenience. It becomes tyranny! The main reason the 2nd amendment was put in place.
    We have to expose these people everywhere that we can. Showing up in force on Tuesday night is one way. Bombard them with letters and phone calls.
    One of the biggest insults to us is these people moved to Vermont, just like Sue Minter, to change the state. What the hell is happening here. These are the same kind of miscreants who fought against the box stores and Walmart in St Albans and the NE Kingdom. They moved from NY, CN, CA, MA to Vermont only to change it, to mirror their home states. Pathetic! GO HOME
    Years ago as MA people were coming in droves to Maine, and trying to change all aspects of the state, it seemed like every pick-up truck had a bumper sticker that said: WELCOME TO MAINE – NOW GO HOME Maybe it is time for the same in Vermont.

  2. Kid problems start in the home for the most part. Many parents are derelict in family relationships that result in mental problems. Was the kid influenced by violent movies or video games? This is a rare occurrence in VT in seeking guns to end life or kill many. Each case of mass shootings are mentally related.

    Why are the Blacks desirous of all people in VT to give up their arms? That’s a mental problem in itself. Where are the psychologists to analyze the situation, if that helps to expose the problem. Why are the Blacks seeking Socialist government sympathy? This is the second time they have had public exposure on this, I believe it’s a cover-up for their lack of providing values in their family and proper guidance.

    Their neighbors should shed some light as to how the Black family functioned. Hard to hide secrets.

    Hell, in the country Opioids, vehicles, medical industry and politicians kill more people than guns.

  3. “The committee heard from Rob Black, the father of Andrew Black, who committed suicide within hours of purchasing a gun Dec. 6, 2018, at his home in Essex. He and his wife, Alyssa Black, had already provided their story to the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year. On Wednesday he again urged the committee to impose a waiting period.”

    The Blacks want all Vermonters to suffer the infringement of a natural,civil right because of what ever caused their adult son to take his own life.
    So all Vermonters must have a price exacted from them thru the loss of their rights by a Fascist/Left political agenda.

    • This “Fascist/Left political agenda” is really an American version of the Taliban. — And the sooner we see them as that, the better off we will be.

      • I couldn’t agree more,they are Un American,do not believe that the Constitution is the law of the land,perhaps instead ban the American Taliban.

  4. Sadly as with almost every progressive/DNC mandate it is never about solving the problem (depression and hopelessness to the point of suicide) and always about fulfilling the Marxist plan and conversion from a constitutional republic to “Venezuela”

    They’d understand suicide is rarely spontaneous, check out the suicide prevention sites, it’s by there experts! Of cours teaching kids socialism invariably takes away hope, it’s always the systems fault and never teaches them to overcome struggles inherent to the human experience, they say vote for Bernie everything will be a utopian paradise after that!

  5. They want to pass a law based on one kids suicide with a gun when people are dying from drug addiction, mental illness, accidents etc. every day but I don’t see anything in the legislature that’s addressing these issues. It just truly shows that these laws are all agenda driven and what the people have to say against their agenda fall on deaf ears.
    This applies to the many stupid bills that are being proposed by this legislature.

  6. The worthless Leftarded government want’s to curtail 2nd Amendment
    Rights for a 27 year old kid that was ribbed to death on Social Media..
    And apparently had never “grown up”..
    What planet are these leftist dweebs comming from?
    The parents should be charged with over coddling the kid not blaming
    guns for their kids death. The Monpeculiarites now are fighting against free speech on Vaccines on Social Media but taking away gun rights on excuse of causing suicide by social media…

    Clue for the brain dead leftist, The problem with measles is coming from your “OPEN Borders”
    policy. Measles will be the least of the desease’s we’ll
    be seeing from the hoards jumping the boarder, but
    guns is bad….

  7. The committee heard from Rob Black and stated,
    “I truly believe that if this law was in effect on De 2018, he would still be alive today,” he said !!

    That is complete and utter nonsense, if their son was having ” Issues ” as they keep stating, then
    this bill would have only ” delayed ” the inevitable 24Hrs. It’s pathetic, that an Elected Officials will
    use this tragedy to further an Agenda !!

    As parents, they did all they could do, their son should have been under supervision by Mental Health Professionals.

    Wake up people, we have mental health issues and ” our Legislators ” cannot or will not” address
    that problem. So they try and pass feel-good policy !! ……..Shameful.

  8. Kudos to both Chris Bradley and Bill Moore for their excellent and pertinent testimonies. Will this committee listen? I’m sorry to say I’m not holding my breath. I’d love to be proven wrong.

Comments are closed.