The US Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a blow to Second Amendment Advocates in a decision that prompted an extensive 14-page dissenting opinion from Justice Clarence Thomas.
The Court refused to hear challenges against two California laws that plaintiffs said violate their rights to gun ownership under the Second Amendment, CBS News reported.
The first case was a challenge to California’s “cooling off period,” a 10-day waiting period for all gun sales intended to ensure a person does not purchase a firearm in a fit of rage.
According to court documents, California’s “cooling off” period is the second-longest in the country, The Hill reported.
Only eight other states and the District of Columbia have any type of waiting period.
California residents Jeff Silvester and Brandon Combs were joined by the nonprofits The Calguns Foundation Inc. and the Second Amendment Foundation Inc. in their suit.
Silvester and Combs, who already owned firearms, claimed the law was unconstitutional when applied to “subsequent purchasers,” or persons who already own a gun, have a concealed carry license, or clear a background check in less than 10 days.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals shot down their case, and the Supreme Court let the lower court’s decision stand.
In a scathing dissenting opinion, Justice Thomas quoted the court’s precedent, saying:
“The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,’ and the Fourteenth Amendment requires the States to respect that right, McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U. S. 742, 749–750 (2010) (plurality opinion); id., at 805 (THOMAS, J., concurring in part and concurringin judgment).
“Because the right to keep and bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution, courts cannot subject laws that burden it to mere rational-basis review. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U. S. 570, 628, n. 27 (2008). But the decision below did just that. Purporting to apply intermediate scrutiny, the Court of Appeals upheld California’s 10-day waiting period for firearms based solely on its own “common sense.” Silvester v. Harris, 843 F. 3d 816, 828 (CA9 2016).
“It did so without requiring California to submit relevant evidence, without addressing petitioners’ arguments to the contrary, and without acknowledging the District Court’s factual findings. This deferential analysis was indistinguishable from rational basis review. And it is symptomatic of the lower courts’ general failure to afford the Second Amendment the respect due an enumerated constitutional right.
If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this Court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court.”
The Supreme Court also refused to hear a case that challenged a California law that requires $5 from each $19 transfer fee on gun sales to go toward law enforcement efforts against illegal gun purchases as part of the state’s California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System.
The NRA and other Second Amendment groups opposed the law on the grounds that the fee imposed by APPS does not sufficiently relate to the criminal misuse of firearms.
The decision comes at lawmakers debate gun control following last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead.