Supreme Court Lets California's Gun-Buying Waiting Period Stand

Justice Thomas delivers pro-gun rant just days after the Parkland shooting

Thomas said the Supreme Court should have heard Silvester v. Becerra, a challenge to California's 10-day waiting period for gun purchases. The waiting period also gives officials time to run background checks and ensure that weapons being sold are not stolen or being purchased for someone prohibited from gun ownership, the state said.

The gun rights groups and individual gun owners who challenged the waiting period had argued that it violated their right to keep and bear arms under the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.

The justices announced a constitutional right to possess firearms in the home in a 2008 case called D.C. v. Heller, and applied that decision against state governments in a 2010 case called McDonald v. Chicago. "As evidenced by our continued inaction in this area", he wrote, "the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN. Lower federal courts, in the mean time, have adopted a fairly narrow view of the Heller and McDonald decisions, affirming a raft of gun control measures.

It's also the day Justice Clarence Thomas picked to deliver a 14-page rant about the fact that it isn't easier to buy guns in the United States.

Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen others injured last week at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

For Thomas, such treatment " is symptomatic of the lower courts' general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right".

California is one of only nine states as well as the District of Columbia to have a waiting period for gun purchasers.

Two California residents, Jeff Silvester and Brandon Combs, who already own guns legally, challenged the application of law along with two nonprofits: The Calguns Foundation Inc. and The Second Amendment Foundation Inc.

The Ninth Circuit upheld California's law in December 2016, and Thomas says that ruling ignored "several ordinary principles of appellate review".

In a separate case, the court rejected a challenge by the National Rifle Association to California's $5 fee on gun sales, which pays for programs to take guns away from criminals and mental patients. He criticized the circuit, frequently the target of conservative politicians and legal analysts, for allegedly applying a less-critical standard to other civil rights.

Another finding by the trial court that Thomas quoted is that individuals who meet California's requirements for a concealed-carry license are uniquely "unlikely" to "engage in impulsive acts of violence". 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.

However, the plaintiffs contend that since they already own guns, this waiting period should be waived, and Justice Thomas agreed with them.



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