Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Federal District Court: California’s Waiting Period to Acquire a Firearm Violates the Second Amendment

Friday, August 29, 2014

On Monday, 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.  The opinion, written by Judge Anthony W. Ishii, 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 first concluded that the waiting period created a burden on the Second Amendment. Specifically, it found the state failed to put forth any historical evidence showing that the waiting period should fall outside the scope of the Second Amendment or was one of the types of longstanding and presumptively lawful regulations identified by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller.  Because the court determined that the waiting period burdened the Second Amendment, the state was required to show a “reasonable fit” between the supposed state interest furthered by the law, public safety, and the state’s rationale for how the waiting period furthered that interest. 

The state attempted to justify the burden created by the waiting period with three separate arguments.  First, that the waiting period provided time for the California Department of Justice to conduct a background check on the prospective purchaser.  Second, that the waiting period created a “cooling off period” that prevented impulsive acts of violence.  Third, that the waiting period helped to deter “straw purchases” by giving law enforcement sufficient time to investigate the purchaser. 

The plaintiffs argued that these justifications were insufficient to meet the “reasonable fit” requirement as to three classes of individuals:  those who already own a firearm as indicated by California’s Automated Firearms System, holders of concealed carry permits, and holders of a Certificate of Eligibility.  Notably, individuals in each of these classes have already undone extensive background checks and, in most cases, already own one or more firearms.  

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.

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.  While the holding is technically limited to the three classes of individuals raised by the plaintiffs, the court’s discussion of the state’s justifications, or lack thereof, for the waiting period exposes waiting period laws for what they truly are:  an attempt to limit firearm ownership through burdensome regulation.

TRENDING NOW
DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

DHS “Misinformation Governance Board” Could Seek to Sway Gun Debate

In late April, Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), made a bizarre announcement during a congressional hearing that DHS was forming what it called a “Mis- and Disinformation Governance Board.” The statement came ...

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

News  

Monday, May 16, 2022

Follow the Science, Unless it Leads Where You Don’t Want to Go

Researchers in California have published the results of a study evaluating the effectiveness of so-called “gun violence restraining orders” (a.k.a. “extreme risk protection orders” or “red flag” orders). Assembly Bill 1014, was enacted in California in ...

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

Monday, April 11, 2022

Illinois: General Assembly Passes “Ghost Gun” Ban

On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee held a subject matter hearing on House Bill 4383 Senate Floor Amendment 2, to ban individuals from making their own firearms for personal use, and voted to advance the measure. ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

New Jersey: “Mandatory Jail” Bill Scheduled for Senate Hearing Thursday

Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee is scheduled to consider S.513, legislation which would create a rebuttable presumption of no bail for gun offenses.

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Today, Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319, constitutional carry, into law. Georgia is now the 25th constitutional carry state, and the fourth to join that group in 2022. Half of the country now recognizes the right ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

News  

Thursday, May 12, 2022

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

Former President Donald J. Trump will headline the 2022 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 27, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

NRA-ILA Spring 2022 Litigation Newsletter

News  

Friday, May 13, 2022

NRA-ILA Spring 2022 Litigation Newsletter

NRA-ILA’s Office of Litigation Counsel has been busy fighting for our members’ rights in courtrooms across the country. ILA has filed new cases, continued the fight in many existing cases, and scored some good wins. ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.