SACRAMENTO — A federal judge has overturned part of a California law requiring a 10-day waiting period for gun buyers, ruling that it does not apply to those who already own firearms.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Ishii of Fresno ruled late last week that “10-day waiting periods impermissibly violate the Second Amendment” for gun-buyers who already passed background checks or are authorized to carry concealed weapons.
“There is no evidence that a ‘cooling off period,’ such as that provided by the 10-day waiting period, prevents impulsive acts of violence by individuals who already possess a firearm. 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 said in his ruling.
Californians buying their first firearm will still have to undergo background checks and the 10-day waiting period under the judge’s 56-page ruling, dated Friday.
Ishii delayed the effective date of his order for six months to give the state time to appeal or the Legislature time to adopt new rules. For instance, he suggested lawmakers might want to change state law to allow law enforcement officials to delay the delivery of a firearm if they have reason to suspect that the buyer intends to illegally pass on the weapon to someone else.
A spokesman for the state attorney general, Nick Pacilio, said Monday that officials are reviewing the ruling as they decide whether to appeal. He declined further comment.
Two gun owners and two gun-owner rights groups, The Calguns Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation, sued over the state waiting period in 2011.
Jeff Silvester, one of the gun owners who sued, said in a statement that Ishii’s ruling “is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense.”
Jonathan Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said the ruling is narrow but still goes too far.
“There’s still justification to have some delay before somebody can accumulate an arsenal,” even if they already own a weapon, Lowy said. “Courts should not be second-guessing the judgment of the Legislature.”
The decision comes as California lawmakers consider additional firearms legislation after an attack in May that left six people, including the student attacker, dead in Isla Vista, near the University of California, Santa Barbara.
AB1014 would make California the first state to let family members, licensed therapists and health care providers ask a judge to take firearms from someone who has shown signs that they could harm others or themselves. SB505 would require law enforcement officers to check state firearms records as part of routine welfare checks.