As gun control is once more in the national spotlight after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court said Tuesday it will not hear a challenge to a California law that requires there be a 10-day waiting period after all gun sales, even if the person is already a registered gun owner.
The development is a major defeat for National Rifle Association and gun activists who filed the lawsuit.
California’s “cooling off period” is the second longest in the country, according to court documents, and was enacted to give state authorities time to run a background check and give individuals who might want the firearm to harm themselves or others an opportunity to calm down.
Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should have taken up the challenge, NBC News reported. Thomas said the court should have taken up the challenge. The refusal to do so, he said, is a sign that “the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.”
Thomas argued that the Supreme Court has not touched the gun rights issue for nearly a decade, since ruling that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to have a handgun at home for self-defense.
The NRA challenged California’s law in court, claiming the waiting period is unconstitutional when it’s applied to “subsequent purchasers” — individuals who already own a firearm according to California’s AFS database or have a valid concealed-carry license and individuals who clear a background check in less than 10 days.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It said the 10-day waiting period is a reasonable safety precaution for all purchasers of firearms and need not be suspended once a purchaser has been approved. And now the Supreme Court is leaving the appeals court ruling intact.
The court also refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a California law that requires $5 of each $19 transfer fee on gun sales go to fund enforcement efforts against illegal firearm purchasers through California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).
The National Rifle Association and state gun rights advocates argued the law violates the Second Amendment because the criminal misuse of firearms targeted by the APPS is not sufficiently related to the legal acquisition of firearms on which the fee is imposed.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law.