California’s Waiting Period Violates 2nd Amendment

Our members should take stock of an opinion holding that California’s 10-day waiting period for nearly all firearm sales violates the Second Amendment, at least as applied to certain individuals. Like the Peruta ruling we have previously reported on here and here, this is a big win if the decision holds up through what will likely be further challenges by the gun-hostile California state government.

Even if the decision is not appealed, it will not take effect for at least 180 days because of a stay that was granted to give California sufficient time to alter its firearm acquisition procedures to comply with the court’s holding.

The basics: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued an opinion holding that California’s 10-day waiting period for nearly all firearm sales violates the Second Amendment, at least as applied to certain individuals.

Judge Anthony W. Ishii’s opinion generally found California’s justifications for the waiting period insufficient to overcome the burden the waiting period placed on Californians’ right to keep and bear arms.

The court analyzed the justifications for each class separately, but the court’s rationale in rejecting each justification was generally the same for each separate class.

In rejecting the background check justification, the court found that in many cases background checks are completed anywhere from a few hours to one day and in the vast majority of cases the check was completed in fewer than 10 days, so the background check provided no justification for the waiting period beyond the actual time needed to complete the check on a case-by-case basis.

The court was not persuaded by the “cooling off period” justification because individuals in each of the three classes already owned a firearm or had undergone a thorough background investigation that made it extremely unlikely that these individuals would carry out an impulsive violent crime.

As to the “straw purchase” justification, the court found that there was no evidence that the legislature had intended the waiting period to serve as a deterrent to straw purchases or that the waiting period actually did deter straw purchases.

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Download a copy of the decision here

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