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Fed. judge rules Calif. waiting period violates 2A in some cases

SAF's Alan Gottlieb is celebrating a win in a waiting period case in California.
Dave Workman

A federal judge in California today ruled that the Golden State’s 10-day waiting period violates the Second Amendment “as applied to those individuals who successfully pass” the state’s background check prior to the ten days, and who are already in lawful possession of an additional firearm, and the Second Amendment Foundation is hailing the ruling.

It’s a significant victory for SAF and Calguns Foundation. In his 56-page ruling, Senior Judge Andrew W. Ishii of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California also noted that the waiting period violates the Second Amendment for individuals who pass the background check and who possess a valid CCW license.

They’re already talking about the ruling on the Calguns forum. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said in a statement to the press that Judge Ishii’s ruling “clearly addressed the issue we put before the court.” The case did not challenge the constitutionality of waiting periods as a whole, and the judge clearly noted that the court is “expressing no opinion on the constitutionality of the 10-day waiting period in general or as applied to first time California firearms purchasers.”

But common sense appears to have prevailed. After all, Gottlieb observed, what is the point of requiring a waiting period for someone who already owns a gun and who has a concealed carry permit?

Buried in the text of Judge Ishii’s opinion are some gems. At one point, the judge observes, “The nature and unique requirements of CCW licenses are such that it is unlikely that CCW license holders would engage in impulsive acts of violence. CCW license applicants must demonstrate good moral character. Engaging in unlawful acts of violence is inconsistent with good moral character.”

In another spot, Judge Ishii notes, “There is no evidence to suggest that waiting periods imposed by the government would have been accepted and understood to be permissible under the Second Amendment.”

Today’s ruling chalks up another important score for SAF, in that Judge Ishii referred to other cases brought by the foundation, including McDonald v. City of Chicago, Ezell v. City of Chicago and Moore v. Madigan. This led SAF General Counsel Miko Tempski to observe that SAF’s litigation strategy is paying off.

“With this victory,” Tempski said, “years of SAF and Calguns Foundation litigation are coming to fruition. We have built a solid foundation that allows us to successfully challenge irrational laws like this.”

Gun rights activists will argue that the Second Amendment has been eroded gradually over time. Reversing those erosions and restoring the right to keep and bear arms will likewise not happen overnight. Much of what is happening today with gun rights has occurred only because of the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald cases. Essentially, the courts are plowing new legal ground, and they are doing it carefully, one furrow at a time.