August 26th, 2014

California Gun Waiting Period Laws Ruled Unconstitutional

second amendmentBig Victory for California Gun Owners!
California’s 10-day waiting period for gun purchases was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal judge on August 25, 2014 in a significant victory for Second Amendment civil rights. The laws were challenged by California gun owners Jeffrey Silvester and Brandon Combs, as well as two gun rights groups, The Calguns Foundation, and Second Amendment Foundation. The decision was issued in the case of Silvester v. Harris.

Ruling is Limited in Scope
The Court’s decision does not toss out California’s 10-day waiting period completely. However, the Court did rule that the 10-day rule is invalid for those who already lawfully possess firearms and have satisfied background checks. The full decision can be read at

Federal Court Decides 10-day Waiting Period Laws Violate 2nd Amendment Rights
The ruling was made by the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California. In his decision, Federal District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, a Clinton appointee, found that “the 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code [sections 26815(a) and 27540(a)] violate the Second Amendment” as to certain classes of citizens, and “burdens the Second Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs.”

Specifically the Court held that the 10-day waiting period was invalid for citizens who already held a CCW license and had passed background checks. The Court did NOT hold the the 10-day period was invalid for new purchasers who had not already been vetted. Specifically, Judge Ishii held that: “Penal Code §26815(a) and § 27540(a)’s 10-day waiting periods impermissibly violate the Second Amendment as applied to those persons who already lawfully possess a firearm as confirmed by the AFS, to those who possess a valid CCW license, and to those who possess both a valid COE and a firearm as confirmed by the AFS system, if the background check on these individuals is completed and approved prior to the expiration of 10 days.”

“This is a great win for Second Amendment civil rights and common sense,” said Jeff Silvester, the named individual plaintiff. “I couldn’t be happier with how this case turned out.”

Under the court order, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) must change its systems to accommodate the unobstructed release of guns to gun buyers who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a “Certificate of Eligibility” issued by the DOJ and already possess at least one firearm known to the state.

“California gun owners are not second-class citizens and the Second Amendment doesn’t protect second class rights,” noted plaintiff Brandon Combs, also CGF’s executive director. “This decision is an important step towards restoring fundamental individual liberties in the Golden State.”

“This ruling clearly addressed the issue we put before the court,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We are naturally delighted with the outcome.”

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