The U.S. Supreme Court made its decision on a gun law in the wake of the Parkland, FL mass shooting. A teenager walked into the high school and mowed down 17 students and staff with a legally purchased assault rifle, the AR-15. Not every justice on the court was happy with the decision.
California exercised its state’s right to implement a 10-day waiting period before people can purchase a firearm. Although the state has a liberal image, there are still many conservatives living there. Gun rights groups and individuals challenged their state law.
They argued that the law violated their Constitutional Second Amendment, which promises people the right to keep and bear arms. The offense said that they only wanted the waiting period waived for people who already legally own guns and have already passed the waiting period before.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) also wanted the court to take up its challenge to California’s fees on firearms. It wanted the state to lower those fees and use the surplus monies to pay for tracking illegal weapons instead.
The ruling was a blow to gun enthusiasts, but California insisted the waiting period was necessary to guard against suicides and rages that resulted in gun deaths.
The NRA could not have picked a worse time to challenge California’s gun laws, a week after the gun violence that left 14 high school students and three staff members dead and others gravely injured. The students, families, and friends have been attending the funerals of the victims.
Justice Clarence Thomas is one of the most conservative justices to sit on the Supreme Court bench. He claimed that the other justices were “showing contempt for constitutional protections for gun rights,” according to CNBC News.
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote:
‘If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt this court would intervene. But as evidenced by our continued inaction in this area, the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court.’
Thomas compared the gun law case against waiting periods for “racist publications, or police traffic stops:”
‘The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this court’s constitutional orphan. And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message.’
Plaintiff Jeff Silvester, the Calguns Foundation and its executive director Brandon Combs, and the Second Amendment Foundation challenged the waiting period in 2011.
The reason the state wants the longer waiting period is to give the buyer an opportunity for “cooling off.” Studies have proven that the waiting period serves as a deterrent that reduces handgun suicides and murders. In addition, the waiting period gives the seller ample time to run background checks.
California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., all have varying lengths of waiting periods and ones that depend upon what kind of firearm the buyer wants, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gun control advocacy group.
The Supreme Court decided to leave in place the California law barring people from carrying a concealed guns in public places, unless they can prove “good cause.”
Featured Image via Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla.