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CA's 10-Day Gun Waiting Period Faces a New Legal Challenge
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By Brian Phelps
Published 11 months ago on
May 10, 2023

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A pro-gun coalition filed a lawsuit last week against state Attorney General Rob Bonta (Richards v. Bonta) in an effort to overturn California’s “cooling period” law for firearms.

The Firearms Policy Coalition, along with the San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, California Gun Rights Foundation, and Second Amendment Foundation, sued the state. They hope to strike down the law requiring a 10-day wait before an individual can possess a purchased firearm.

“A right delayed is a right denied” the coalition stated in its complaint. “Defendants’ enforcement of the Waiting Period Laws prevents law-abiding people from taking possession of lawfully acquired firearms for immediate self-defense.”

According to California Penal Code Sec. 26815, the cooling-off period even applies to purchasers who have passed a background check.

Law Challenged Previously

The law has been tested before. In 2018, Silvester v. Becerra was heard in the Ninth Circuit, which upheld the constitutionality of the law. Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t take up the resulting appeal.

The plaintiffs contend that “the state may not prevent a law-abiding person from taking possession of an arm after it confirms that the person is not prohibited from possessing firearms.”

In their view, after looking at state and federal databases and finding no records to prevent an applicant from obtaining a firearm, the dealer should turn over the firearm “without delay.”

Laws on the Books in Other States

Other states also have similar laws in place. Maryland and New Jersey have a 7-day waiting period for handgun sales; Minnesota and Washington have a 7-day waiting period for assault rifle sales; and Rhode Island, Hawaii, Florida, and Illinois have waiting periods with varying wait times.

On the day the lawsuit was filed, Bonta and his office released a statement saying they “have received the complaint and are reviewing it.”

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