Litigation

Cal. Litig. 2023, Volume 36, Issue 2

CALIFORNIA’S GUN PURCHASE WAITING PERIOD: A HISTORY OF THE FUTURE

Written by Bill Slomanson*

DÉJÀ VU

California’s gun purchase waiting period was first litigated in 2011. That case migrated from a Fresno federal trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Silvester v. Becerra (2018) 138 S.Ct. 945.) A fresh attack was filed in San Diego’s federal district court in May 2023. (Richards v. Bonta (S.D.Cal., May 1, 2023, No. 3:23-CV-00793) [hereafter Richards].)

The Fresno trial court overturned the state’s waiting period. (Silvester v. Harris (E.D.Cal. 2014) 41 F.Supp.3d 927.) The Ninth Circuit reversed, keeping the waiting period in place. (Silvester v. Harris (9th Cir. 2016) 843 F.3d 816.) The Supreme Court denied certiorari. As the dissent from that denial lamented, "the Court of Appeals [which] upheld California’s 10-day waiting period for firearms based solely on its own ‘common sense’ … is symptomatic of the [nation’s] lower courts’ general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right." (Silvester v. Becerra, supra, 138 S.Ct. at p. 945 (dis. opn. of Thomas, J., italics added.)

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