A coalition of gun rights groups filed a lawsuit against California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases Tuesday, claiming the state-imposed delay “isn’t analogous to any constitutionally relevant history” and therefore cannot survive the Bruen (2022) test.
The case was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), who is joined by the North County Shooting Center, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, California Gun Rights Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, PWGG LLP, John Phillips, Alisha Curtin, Dakota Adelphia, Michael Schwartz, Darin Prince and Claire Richards.
The coalition of guns rights groups and individual citizens claim that “a right delayed is a right denied.”
They point to the onerous process law-abiding California residents must go through in order to purchase a firearm, noting that the 10-day waiting period is instrumental in the convolution:
Typical law-abiding individuals in California cannot lawfully acquire a firearm to exercise their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms without first going in-person to a federally and state-licensed firearm dealer, applying for the transfer of a firearm, and suffering at least a 10-day ban on the possession of that arm—even when the State has confirmed, often within minutes of the application, that the person is eligible to acquire firearms. Then, if the Defendants affirmatively allow the transfer, the buyer must go back to the dealership to take possession of the firearm no sooner than 10 days after submitting the application. And California’s firearm dealers must strictly comply with the State’s regulatory scheme on pain of criminal liability and loss of their license to do business.
The coalitions stresses the 10-day waiting period cannot survive the scrutiny of Bruen (2022):
As explained in Bruen, the government bears the burden of “affirmatively prov[ing] that its firearm regulation is part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms.” … Here, Defendants cannot possibly carry that burden. No waiting period or any analogous laws existed in the constitutionally relevant period of history. Rather, no form of a waiting period law was enacted for any jurisdiction until 1923, well beyond the relevant time period the Supreme Court permits to be considered—after all, the law held unconstitutional in Bruen was enacted in 1911.
SAF executive director Adam Kraut commented, “Where this really gets silly, is when the waiting period restriction even applies to a gun buyer who already owns other firearms. Not to mention, those who are looking to acquire a firearm for protection immediately do not have the luxury of waiting ten days.”
The coalition seeks “a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining Defendants…from implementing or enforcing California’s Waiting Period Laws after such time that the Defendants timely confirm a firearm transferee is not prohibited from possessing firearms.”
The case is Richards v. Bonta, No. 3:23-cv-00793 in the United States District Court Southern District of California.