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
Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dick’s Spends Big on Gun-Chopping, Virtue-Signaling Bonanza (But It Will Still Sell You a Firearm)

Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, wants you to know he’s committed to keeping AR-15s “off the street.” But he’s also committed (for the time being) to selling other types of firearms.

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Friday, October 11, 2019

California: Governor Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills into Law

Earlier today, Governor Newsom signed the seven anti-gun bills listed below into law.  

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Monday, October 14, 2019

California: Anti-Gun and Anti-Hunting Bill Signed into Law

Prior to the October 13 deadline, Governor Newsom signed the final anti-gun and anti-hunting bills, AB 1254 and SB 172 into law.  

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Number of Concealed Carry Permit Holders Increased Again

Last week, economist John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center released “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2019,” his annual report on the number of concealed carry permit holders in the U.S.

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

News  

Friday, October 4, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the Police Officer Who Told Congress She ‘Would Not Comply' with a Gun Ban

Last week, a retired Tulsa, Oklahoma law enforcement officer testified in a Congressional hearing that she “would not comply” if Congress passes a ban on firearms. Her bold assertion earned her national media attention and ...

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Virginia’s Anti-gun Politicians Put Politics Before Fighting Gun Crime

Virginia’s anti-gun politicians are serious about attacking law-abiding gun owners, but are indifferent about actual gun crime. As highlighted in a recent report in the Washington Free Beacon by Stephen Gutowski, the Virginia Department of Justice Services ...

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

News  

Friday, August 2, 2019

Kamala Harris and Her Perplexing Anti-Gun Ideas

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), one of the two-dozen Democrat presidential hopefuls vying to take on President Donald Trump in 2020, has been promoting her anti-gun platform for many months. This isn’t really news, as ...

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

News  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virginia Police Chief Advocates Ban on All Guns at U.S. House “Assault Weapons” Hearing

On Sept. 25, the Democrat-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a 3 ½ hour “hearing” entitled “Protecting America From Assault Weapons.” That framing of the issue underscored the erroneous notion that Americans need protection from ...

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

News  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Grassroots Spotlight: NRA-ILA Fighting the Bloomberg Money In Virginia 2019 Elections

The Nov. 5th election may be the most consequential ever for our Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth. That’s because every seat in the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate is up for grabs and gun control ...

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.

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.