Gun Owners Won't Have to Wait 10 Days to Add to Arsenals

By William Peacock, Esq. on August 27, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

"For those who already own a firearm and are known to be trustworthy due to the licenses that they hold and a history of responsible gun ownership, there is no justification for imposing the full 10-day waiting period."

That's District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii's holding: For Californians who already lawfully own guns, or for those who are licensed concealed carry permit holders, there is no justifiable reason to have a strict 10-day waiting period before they can exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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What Harm Could Another Gun Do?

One of the state's justifications for the hold is a "cooling off period." Judge Ishii noted the obvious: "A waiting period for a newly purchased firearm will not deter an individual from committing impulsive acts of violence with a separate firearm that is already in his or her possession."

He also noted that no social science studies call for a 10-day wait, and for those that advocate a waiting period of unspecific duration, all operate on the assumption that the buyer does not already own a gun.

Judge Ishii also dismissed a second justification: preventing straw purchases. Investigations are usually not completed within 10 days, and "applying the full 10-day waiting period ... in the absence of any reason to suspect that a straw purchase is in fact occurring, is too overbroad."

The main justification, allowing time for a background check, isn't a reasonable fit -- a check with the state's automated database, for existing owners and concealed carry permit owners, usually takes less than 10 days.

Judge Ishii applied intermediate scrutiny, holding that none of the three proffered interests fit the 10-day period, which he held was "substantially broader than necessary to achieve the government's interest."

Shorter Wait Times

Should the decision hold up on appeal, instead of mandatory 10-day waiting period, Judge Ishii's opinion would seem to call for a wait for current gun owners that lasts no longer than it would take for an electronic background check -- anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.

The state's Automated Firearms System includes records of concealed-carry permits, owners of registered "assault weapons," handgun sales since 1996 and long gun sales since the beginning of this year. The AFS would, in theory, operate as a shortcut for existing owners and CCW permit holders.

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