The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a California state law requiring a 10-day waiting period for the purchase of all firearms.
Judge Mary Schroeder, a President Jimmy Carter appointee, wrote the opinion for the three judge-panel. Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment.The challenge to the California law was brought by a coalition of pro-Second Amendment groups who claim it infringes a constitutional right.
The court chose to apply intermediate scrutiny in evaluating the law, which means that the government had to prove that the law furthers an important government interest by means which are substantially related to that interest. (RELATED: Judicial Vacancies Present Daunting Challenge For Trump)
In upholding the law the court wrote:
Thus the waiting period, as applied to these Plaintiffs, and the safety storage precautions, as applied to the plaintiffs in Jackson, have a similar effect. Their purpose is to promote public safety. Their effect is to require individuals to stop and think before being able to use a firearm.
The State is required to show only that the regulation ‘promotes a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation.’ The State has established that there is a reasonable fit between important safety objectives and the application of the WPLs to Plaintiffs in this case. The waiting period provides time not only for a background check, but also for a cooling-off period to deter violence resulting from impulsive purchases of firearms. The State has met its burden.
Thomas wrote separately because, while he agreed with the court’s opinion in the majority, he believed the law was presumptively constitutional because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in D.C. v. Heller, which sanctioned longstanding regulations on the commercial sale of guns. California has imposed a waiting-period on the sale of firearms in one form or another since the 1920s. Therefore, in his view, the scrutiny analysis was redundant.
A lower court sided with the gun-rights groups and struck down the law. The groups can now appeal to the full 9th Circuit.
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