Unfortunately, too many Americans reside behind Iron Curtains of tyrannical states like California, Massachusetts and New Jersey. In states like these, and many more, the right to bear arms is undermined with costly licenses or other arbitrary restrictions such as waiting periods to keep citizens from immediately exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Of course, in such states, citizens can purchase a chainsaw or other tools that, in the wrong hands, can wreak havoc. But scary-looking guns require considerable government oversight and interference.
Now, citizens of California are fighting-back against the draconian restrictions that separate them from their rights.
In August of 2014, a federal court ruled that the broad California law that requires citizens wait 10 days after passing a background check to obtain their firearms is unconstitutional. The state’s radical attorney general, Kamala Harris, has so far ignored this ruling and proceeded with appeals.
The appeal, Silvester v. Harris, argued last week before the often-liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, is being considered as Second Amendment advocates assert that the restriction serves no valid purpose and is unconstitutional.
“There is no government public safety interest in a waiting period if you already own a gun and have gone through a background check,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “This is clearly only about a right delayed being a right denied.”
The Second Amendment Foundation and The Calguns Foundation brought the suit in 2011 and have alleged that citizens of California already must undergo a background check and obtain a state Certificate of Eligibility or a California License to Carry. An additional requirement of a 10-day waiting period is simply another barrier designed to keep people from fully exercising their rights.
Gottlieb’s quote, “This is clearly only about a right delayed being a right denied,” is a paraphrasing of a famous quote by Martin Luther King who held the viewpoint that civil rights are our rights, not privileges to be granted when the government feels up to it.
The legal arguments presented by the state are weak at best. Harris has maintained that the Founding Fathers would see the waiting period as acceptable as many citizens of that era lived a more isolated existence on farms and would have to travel to make important purchases.
By such reasoning, the Founding Fathers would also not have a problem with routine surveillance of our emails or wiretapping every phone in America as these did not exist in the days of our founders.
In the lower court’s decision, District Judge Anthony Ishii ruled that the law violated the Second Amendment protections of Californians and noted that there was no evidence to suggest that these waiting periods would prevent “impulse acts of violence by individuals who already possess a firearm.”
The plaintiff’s attorney, Don Kilmer, cautioned against presuming that the law will be overturned.
“We won in trial court because the trial judge was not persuaded by the evidence submitted by California that the waiting period would have any public safety benefits,” he said, noting that the case shines a light on the complicated and conflicting nature of gun laws in America. “One department finds a gun legal. Another finds it illegal. Conflicting opinions are expressed.”
Waiting periods used to be more common as an alleged function of being able to properly vet the prospective gun buyer via a federal background check.
However, as technology has progressed, more and more states have been unable to justify the waiting period as the federal background check can serve an answer on the buyer’s eligibility within minutes in most cases.
Of course, I am still waiting for the person who can point to a specific spot in the Constitution that says anything about the requirement of government approval for one to own a firearm. In fact, though it is an incredibly brief amendment, the Second Amendment does notably serve as the only right outlined in the Constitution that explicitly states that the right “shall not be infringed.”
But, hey, such flowery, indirect and ambiguous language could really mean anything, right?…