With guns making national headlines following the shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, it is no surprise that the United States Supreme Court turned away a challenge that was brought up against the ten day waiting period in California for firearms purchases. This waiting period was put in place to help guard against impulsive acts of violence and suicides, the hope is that in the ten day waiting period either the person will change their minds or the legal system will find a way to stop them. A group of gun owners and gun rights groups challenged the waiting period because they believe it violates their right to bear arms. It is important to note, they were not seeking to remove the waiting period for everyone, just for those people who were already gun owners who had gone through the proper background checks previously.
The Supreme Court has played it safe and stayed away from the national debate over gun control, but this time they went against that and turned away the challenge. This came at the same time that they decided to turn away another gun case which involved the NRA who challenged California’s high fees on firearms sales. One of the strictest conservatives, Justice Clarence Thomas, showed his dissention over the rejection of the case and then went on to accuse fellow Justices of having contempt for the constitutional protection of gun rights. Justice Thomas also stated that if a lower court were to treat any other right of the people so lightly, there is little doubt the Supreme Court would intervene, but the inaction of the Supreme Court in this particular area shows their disfavor of the Second Amendment. Justice Thomas also made it known that he believed the Supreme Court would jump to hear cases about waiting periods if it had something to do with abortions, racism, or police traffic stops.
States like California, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington DC, New Jersey, Hawaii, Florida, Illinois and Maryland all have waiting periods that vary in duration depending on the type of firearm being purchase. Even with that said, the United States is the leader in lax and lenient gun laws. Congress has always found this to be a bitter battle and is deeply divided over how to handle these issues, which in turn means each state has taken action as they see fit. This means from state to state, the gun laws can vary widely.
Many who lobbied for the waiting period to be reviewed were disappointed that the court refused to hear the case. They note that by refusing these types of cases, the lower courts have no guidance and rule from one end of the spectrum to the other across the country. This creates confusion. It is important to know that this law was challenged in 2016 as well and the San Francisco based 9th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals upheld the law which reversed a federal trial court that had found it to be unconstitutional. For more details on this, please head over to Huffington Post.