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Supreme Court Won't Hear Challenge To Calif. Gun Waiting-Period Case

Supreme Court Won't Hear Challenge To Calif. Gun Waiting-Period Case

U.S. Supreme CourtToday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a Second Amendment case challenging California's 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases.

California's waiting period is one of the longest in the nation. The state of California and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra [official website] argue that the 10-day requirement is necessary to conduct a thorough background check, to assess whether the gun is lost or stolen and to investigate any suspicions that the purchase is being made for someone else who is ineligible.

The court also refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a California law that requires $5 of each $19 transfer fee on gun sales go to fund enforcement efforts against illegal firearm purchasers through California's Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).

Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court has been much more attentive to other constitutional rights and would surely have mustered the four votes needed to put a case on the court's docket had a different right been at issue. And "as evidence by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the District Court on appeal, upholding the regulation based on what it called the "common sense understanding" that a 10-day "cooling off" period for gun buyers can help to reduce gun violence.

"The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court's constitutional orphan", Thomas wrote.

As the national debate over guns intensified following last week's school shooting in Florida that killed 17 students and teachers, the high court continued to resist inserting itself - a path it has followed for several years. "And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message".

Blaming cert denials like today's for "enabl [ing] this kind of defiance", Thomas noted that the court has "not heard argument in a Second Amendment case for almost eight years". What is worse, he wrote, "this deferential analysis was indistinguishable from rational-basis review", yet the Supreme Court explicitly forbade rational-basis review in the Second Amendment context in its 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. The court would take these cases because abortion, speech and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights. It said the 10-day waiting period is a reasonable safety precaution for all purchasers of firearms and need not be suspended once a purchaser has been approved. He criticized the circuit, frequently the target of conservative politicians and legal analysts, for allegedly applying a less-critical standard to other civil rights.

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