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Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to California gun law

20 February 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from the National Rifle Association, letting California keep using fees paid on firearm transfers to help fund efforts to track down people who acquire guns illegally. This waiting period gives state officials time to run a background check on the buyer, and also creates a "cooling off" period allowing someone who meant to give "individuals who might use a firearm to harm themselves or others an opportunity to calm down".

Thomas noted that the Supreme Court has not touched the gun rights issue for almost a decade, since ruling that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to have a handgun at home for self defense. The refusal to do so, he said, is a sign that "the Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this Court".

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

A District Court judge ruled in their favor, noting that people who already met the requirements for a concealed carry permit were not likely to "engage in impulsive acts of violence".

The Supreme Court has not taken up a major firearms case since issuing important gun rulings in 2008 and 2010 that established an individual right to own guns for self-defense.

The case is Silvester v. Becerra, 17-342.

The plaintiffs in the case - three California gun owners joined by the pro-gun rights Calguns Foundation and Second Amendment Foundation - originally prevailed in

Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas issued an opinion blasting his colleagues for failing to take up the challenge of California's waiting period. "We have not heard argument in a Second Amendment case for almost eight years".

Gun rights advocates challenged California's law in court, claiming it is unconstitutional. In reviewing whether a law appropriately limits the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Thomas argues, the court must evaluate evidence that such a measure is necessary to meet a governmental interest.

The waiting period gives a gun buyer inclined to use it for an impulsive objective a "cooling off" period, which has been shown in studies to reduce handgun suicides and homicides, the state said in legal papers.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to California gun law