The U.S.Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t have an exceptional record when it comes to gun rights, and that record got a little worse this week. The three-judge panel reversed a gun rights victory on Wednesday by upholding California’s longstanding 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases, according to this story from ocregister.com.
The opinion published by the court says the law doesn’t violate an individual’s Second Amendment rights and calls the waiting period “a reasonable precaution” as it overturned a lower court’s decision from two years ago declaring the waiting period unconstitutional.
In an exceptionally strange progression of logic, the court’s opinion equates the waiting period to people having to wait for guns to be delivered in the horse and buggy days after saying that, since the waiting period doesn’t actually prevent someone from buying a gun, it’s not a problem.
“Before the age of superstores and superhighways, most folks could not expect to take possession of a firearm immediately upon deciding to purchase one. As a purely practical matter, delivery took time. Our 18th and 19th century forebears knew nothing about electronic transmissions. Delays of a week or more were not the product of governmental regulations, but such delays had to be routinely accepted as part of doing business. It therefore cannot be said that the regulation places a substantial burden on a Second Amendment right.”
Apparently gun shops in the 18th and 19th century didn’t stock an inventory, according to the court.
The opinion also attempts to defend waiting periods for first and subsequent gun purchases, stating “An individual who already owns a hunting rifle, for example, may want to purchase a larger capacity weapon that will do more damage when fired into a crowd. A 10-day cooling-off period would serve to discourage such conduct and would impose no serious burden on the core Second Amendment right of defense of the home identified in (Heller v. DC).”
In all fairness, according to this story from guns.com http://www.guns.com/2016/12/15/court-says-californias-10-day-waiting-period-on-guns-is-constitutional/, California has had some form of waiting period statute for firearm sales since 1923. Initially, the law required a one-day wait for handguns, but lawmakers expanded it incrementally to three-, five-, and later 15-days, the story says. Then, in 1991, it was expanded to include all firearms. When electronic background checks were introduced and mandated in 1996, the waiting period was reduced to 10 days, where it stands now.
The matter came to federal court when gun owners teamed up with the Second Amendment Foundation and the Calguns Foundation to challenge the waiting period practice in 2011, which laid the groundwork for the 2014 decision, which has now been reversed. http://www.guns.com/2016/12/15/court-says-californias-10-day-waiting-period-on-guns-is-constitutional/
After undertaking significant discovery, depositions, and a three-day bench trial, Federal District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii issued his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, which held that the state’s 10-day waiting period to be “irrational and unconstitutional as applied to three categories of gun purchasers.”
“Today, this panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has proven to be more interested in their own policy preferences than the Constitution and the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment,” Calguns said in a statement. “In its decision, the Court bizarrely ruled that even a person legally carrying a concealed weapon as he buys another gun at retail needs to be ‘cooled off’ for 10 days before taking possession of another constitutionally-protected firearm. That holding is not even rational, much less should it survive any kind of heightened constitutional scrutiny compelled by the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald opinions.”
“Today’s opinion is but one of a growing string of wrongly-decided Second Amendment cases and serves to underscore that, if the fundamental, individual, Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is to survive as something more than a second-class right,” the statement continues. “The Supreme Court will need to say so once more.”
The statement says the group plans to advance the case to the Supreme Court.
You can read the entire Ninth Circuit Court’s opinion here, if you so choose. https://cdn.calgunsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2016-12-14-Silvester-Opinion.pdf