Declaring “a right delayed is a right denied,” the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb recently announced a lawsuit — this outfit specializes in legal action, some 50 currently underway around the country — challenging California’s 10-day waiting period on firearms purchases.
Gottlieb has a point. Why should any law-abiding citizen have to wait more than a week to take delivery of a firearm he or she has a constitutionally protected right to have?
By no small coincidence, the California lawsuit came about the same time Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a perennial gun control advocate, was signing legislation setting a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases in the Evergreen State. Nobody has ever provided a rational justification for making gun buyers wait for any length of time to buy a firearm.
Anti-gunners only think they’ve provided good reasons: It’s a “cooling off” period so somebody doesn’t a) shoot their neighbor, b) shoot their spouse or “significant other,” or, c) shoot themselves. It allows for an “expanded background check” so government can determine whether the buyer is preparing to, a) rob a bank, b) stage a mass shooting.
All of this is pretty much nonsense, and waiting period proponents know it. What may really be at work here is one more hoop through which citizens must jump as government tries to convince us the Second Amendment is a regulated privilege.
Joining SAF are the North County Shooting Center, San Diego County Gun Owners PAC, California Gun Rights Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, PWGG LLP, John Phillips, Alisha Curtin, Dakota Adelphia, Michael Schwartz, Darin Prince and Claire Richards. They are represented by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay at Benbrook Law Group in Sacramento. Defendants are Attorney General Rob Bonta and Allison Mendoza, director of the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms, in their official capacities. The case is known as Richards v. Bonta and it was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
“There is nothing in the Second Amendment about waiting more than a week in order to exercise the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “California’s waiting period relegates the Second Amendment to the status of a government-regulated privilege, in direct conflict to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared in its 2008 Heller ruling that the Second Amendment is not a second-class right, subject to an entirely different body of rules than the other Bill of Rights guarantees.”
And it goes a little deeper, he explained.
“There’s a Fourteenth Amendment aspect to this case,” Gottlieb added. “The state broadly discriminates against average citizens by allowing exemptions to nearly two-dozen categories of favored individuals who can take possession of firearms without having to endure the delay, which violates the Equal Protection clause. We’re hoping to bring this practice to an end.”
SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, himself a practicing attorney, noted the Golden State’s waiting period restriction “isn’t analogous to any constitutionally relevant history and tradition of regulating firearms.” His criticism of California’s waiting period didn’t stop there.
“Where this really gets silly,” he observed at the time the lawsuit was filed, “is when the waiting period restriction even applies to a gun buyer who already owns other firearms. Not to mention, those who are looking to acquire a firearm for protection immediately do not have the luxury of waiting 10 days. Long story short, the state’s 10-day waiting period must be declared unconstitutional and enjoined, which is the purpose of our lawsuit. We’re asking the court for injunctive and declaratory relief.”
The Double Standard
It has often been said about liberals that if they didn’t have the double standard, they’d have no standards at all.
Case in point: Last month, in the aftermath of a highly publicized mass shooting at a mall in the Dallas suburb of Allen, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz commented on Twitter that he was “praying” for the families of the victims.
“Heidi and I are praying for the families of the victims of the horrific mall shooting in Allen, Texas,” Cruz wrote. “We pray also for the broader Collin County community that’s in shock from this tragedy.”
Typical of the gun control crowd lately, Cruz was pilloried for his remark, according to The Guardian.
The backlash included nasty remarks from various anti-gunners, including Shannon Watts, founder of the gun prohibition group Moms Demand Action. Her Twitter message was blunt: “YOU helped arm him (the gunman) with guns, ammo and tactical gear. He did exactly what you knew he’d do. Spare us your prayers and talk of justice for a gunman who is … dead.”
Funny thing about shooting one’s mouth off on social media; you occasionally shoot yourself in the foot. To wit: About the same time Cruz was talking about remembering the victims in his prayers, Joe Biden was releasing a statement from the White House in which he announced, “Jill and I are praying for their families and for others critically injured, and we are grateful to the first responders who acted quickly and courageously to save lives.”
Apparently, Watts and other Cruz critics had used up all of their righteous indignation and had none left over for their guy in the Oval Office.
Took ‘Em a While
Following the shooting, Texas lawmakers moved a piece of legislation raising the minimum age for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle in the Lone Star State. It’s something which has happened in other states over the past couple of years, and the effort started in Texas following last year’s grade school attack in Uvalde.
The Texas Tribune reported on the legislative action, but waited a whole eight paragraphs into the story before acknowledging something which should have been right up front. Raising the minimum age would have had no impact (that’s zero, zip, nada) on the Texas mall killer.
“Because the man identified as the gunman in Allen was 33, raising the age limit for semi-automatic rifle purchases likely wouldn’t have kept him from purchasing such a weapon,” the newspaper admitted.
Readers might recall another tragic mass killing in Texas just 24 hours after the mall shooting, but then, again, perhaps not because this was different.
Where eight people died at the Dallas-area mall, eight more people were killed when a guy ran over them with an SUV in Brownsville as they were waiting at a bus stop. The aforementioned Alan Gottlieb, this time speaking on behalf of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, had some timely observations.
“Brownsville was just the latest outrage which proves people intent on … mayhem don’t always use firearms,” he said, “but in none of these cases has anyone ever tried to blame, and then ban, motor vehicles. Yet, the victims are just as dead.”
He’s got a point. Early in my career, I frequently was called upon by the Washington State Patrol to photograph fatal accident scenes in the mountain country east of Seattle, primarily along Interstate 90. In those days, troopers didn’t have cameras, so they needed somebody to handle the chore and, as the editor of the local newspaper, I had a camera. I lost count of the number of fatal accidents to which I responded.
Gottlieb said motor vehicles were “the new assault weapons the gun banners don’t want to ban.” He ran down a short list of mass murders (by the gun control formula of more than four victims) committed in recent years with motor vehicles.
“Remember the six people murdered by Darrell E. Brooks when he drove an SUV through the annual Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 2021,” Gottlieb noted. “Sixty-two other people were injured in that rampage.
“Eight people were killed on a New York City bike path in 2017 when an Islamic extremist deliberately ran them down with a rented pickup truck,” he continued. “The driver was punished, not every truck owner in America.
“Who can forget the 2016 mass murder in Nice, France when a man drove a large truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day,” Gottlieb recalled. “He killed 84 people and injured hundreds more.”
In each of these cases, the perpetrator was held responsible. Their choice of weapon was never demonized in the media the same way firearms have been singled out.