This simple gun violence prevention measure saves 750 lives each year.

Firearms result in more than 33,000 deaths in the U.S. per year. Many of these incidents, particularly homicides, can be prevented with a simple solution: a waiting period.

A mandatory waiting period is exactly what it sounds like. It's a delay, anywhere from one to 10 days, between the beginning of a gun purchase and taking ownership of the weapon. This allows stores time to conduct background checks where required and gives the potential buyer a "cooling off" period to potentially prevent impulsive acts of violence.

Photo by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images.


A new study reveals that waiting periods aren't just common sense, they actually work.

The study's researchers, faculty members at Harvard Business School, found that the 17 states (including Washington D.C.) that require mandatory waiting periods have reduced gun homicides by approximately 17%, preventing as many as 750 gun deaths each year.

If mandatory waiting periods were extended to the rest of the country, the study estimates an additional 950 gun deaths could be avoided. That's 950 lives that could be saved every year.

Mark O'Connor fills out his Federal background check paperwork as he purchases a handgun. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Waiting periods also save lives when it comes to preventing suicide.

Multiple studies confirm that firearm access is a risk factor for suicide, and there is a strong correlation between states with high gun ownership and a higher number of firearm suicides than low gun ownership states.

"Many suicides (estimates range from 30% to 80%) are impulsive, with just minutes or an hour elapsing between the time a person decides upon suicide and when he or she commits the act," wrote Annmarie Dadoly, the former editor of Harvard Health. "Yet the stressful events that lead to suicidal thoughts are often temporary, such as losing a job or having a romantic relationship end."

Waiting periods allow for those dangerous, confusing, painful moments to pass without easy access to a firearm, keeping temporary feelings from turning into permanent tragedies.

Currently, there is no federal law requiring waiting periods for handgun purchases.

Many states began background checks and waiting periods in 1994, with the introduction of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, better known as the Brady Bill.

The Brady Bill is named for Press Secretary Jim Brady, who was shot and became permanently disabled during an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. The bill, in part, required potential handgun buyers (purchasing a gun from a licensed dealer) to undergo a background check and a five-day waiting period to conduct the check. In 1998, the FBI introduced the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a system that can return background check results in minutes, leading some states to lift the waiting period.

President Bill Clinton congratulates former Reagan Administration Press Secretary James Brady on the passage of the Brady Bill. Photo by Jennifer Young/AFP/Getty Images.

Other states allow dealers to sell the gun after three days, whether the background check is complete or not. This is how Dylann Roof obtained the weapon he used to kill nine people in the Charleston A.M.E. Church massacre.

Despite the federal Brady Bill, the U.S. still has a piecemeal set of laws from state to state and even from weapon to weapon, with handguns requiring different waiting periods than assault rifles.

The gaps and loopholes in gun laws put everyone at risk, but there's a lot you can do to change that.

If you're interested in working toward a national solution for gun violence prevention, contact your legislators and encourage them to support common sense reforms and to put an end to the moratorium on gun violence research. You can also volunteer your time or make a contribution to groups on the ground, working for safer communities, workspaces, and schools.

It's never too late to start.

A makeshift memorial on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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