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Family calls for 'cooling off period' law after son buys gun, ends his life

MyNBC 5 12/11/2018
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Andrew Robert Black, 23, died Thursday, Dec. 6, in his home in Essex, Vermont.

His mother, Alyssa Hughes Black, said he purchased a firearm earlier that day and took his own life hours later.

"He became upset about something," she said. "And we know that he walked into a gun shop at 11:02 (a.m.), they wan a background check on him, the credit card receipt from the gun was 11:26 (a.m.), and somewhere between three and four that afternoon, he shot himself."

Black's newspaper obituary asks that in lieu of flowers, Vermonters ask that those who wish to honor Black's life to consider lobbying legislators with the following:

"In honor of Andrew R. Black, we ask that you work for legislation that imposes a reasonable waiting period between firearm purchase and possession to provide a cooling off period to guard against impulsive acts of violence."

"It was way too easy for this 23 year old kid to go down and buy a gun. If nothing but 24 hours to just cool down and realize that... it wasn't the answer," said Black's father, a combat veteran who owns guns and keeps them locked up when not out for target practice.

Black's mother and father want to make it very clear: they don't want this to be political. They're not part of any lobbying group and they are not anti-gun.

"We are responsible gun owners, we believe in our second amendment right to own guns, but we also think 'what's the big deal? What is 24 hours?'" his mother said.

Donations can also be made to the Green Mountain Club, as he was an avid hiker.

There will be a public viewing Dec. 13 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Corbin & Palmer Funeral Home on 9 Pleasant St. in Essex Junction.

Lawson's Finest Liquids, the brewery where Black worked, is hosting a celebration of his life Friday, Dec. 14.

"He (Andrew) was truly special and touched a lot of hearts here at Lawson’s Finest," said Alana Cushman of Lawson's Finest Liquids in an email to NBC5.

Black graduated from Essex High School in 2014.

A passionate fan of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, he also loved animals -- especially his dog, Biggie.

In a Facebook post, Hughes Black wrote, "Andrew was a beautiful, funny, talented and kind young man. He was loved by everyone who had the food fortune to know him and he was well on his way to a bright future. We loved Andrew so much and we know Andrew loved us and our family. He was the glue that always kept us deeply connected and he was the bright joy that always kept us laughing."

A day after the obituary appeared, some Vermont lawmakers are already hearing from constituents.

Sen. Philip Baruth, a Chittenden County Democrat, said he will try to build consensus this winter for a new gun legislation.

Baruth said a 48-hour waiting period for gun purchases "is a good idea and always has been."

He also wants to require firearms be stored securely when not in use.

If you or someone you know may be struggling, help is available: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

READ MORE:Family calls for 'cooling off period' law after son buys gun, ends his life

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