Supreme Court won't hear challenge to California gun waiting period

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

According to Thomas, the 9th Circuit ruled in the state's favor "without requiring California to submit relevant evidence, without addressing petitioners' arguments to the contrary, and without acknowledging the District Court's factual findings".

In the case Silvester v. Becerra, two lawful gun owners and two nonprofits challenged the constitutionality of the state's 10-day waiting period as applied to "subsequent purchasers" who already own a firearm or have a license to carry a concealed weapon, and who clear a background check in less than 10 days.

As previously mentioned, the Supreme Courts decision comes on the heels of the widely reported school shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14. The year 2017 meanwhile was the deadliest stretch of mass shootings in modern US history.

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Justice Clarence Thomas dissented [opinion, PDF] from the decision not to review the case.

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".

Silvester, however, is also part of a larger crusade by Thomas to convince his colleagues to hear more gun cases. In the Ninth Circuit, it seems, rights that have no basis in the Constitution receive greater protection than the Second Amendment, which is enumerated in the text.

But the 9th Circuit upheld the regulation.

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The Supreme Court has not taken up a major firearms case since issuing important gun rulings in 2008 and 2010 that established an individual right to own guns for self-defense. "If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt this court would intervene".

The conservative justice went on to accuse the Supreme Court of having a negative bias against the Second Amendment, citing their "continued inaction in this area".

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In an unsigned order, the court let stand a ruling upholding California's law mandating a 10-day waiting period and another imposing fees on firearm transactions to fund background checks.

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Thomas said that while the Ninth Circuit claimed to apply "intermediate scrutiny" to the waiting period in making their decision, they failed to "demonstrate that the harms it recites are real", which is necessary under that standard of review. The case was pursued by two California residents who argued that the waiting period should be waived for people who already owned guns and had passed the state's background check.

  • Ryan Wade