Published: Wed, February 21, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

US Supreme Court rejects 2 gun rights appeals

US Supreme Court rejects 2 gun rights appeals

In a blow to gun rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away a challenge to California's 10-day waiting period for firearms purchases that is meant to guard against impulsive violence and suicides. The state says it needs the time to complete background checks and for a "cooling off period" for those who might be buying a gun to hurt themselves or others.

One of the court's most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, dissented from the decision to reject the case and accused his colleagues of showing contempt toward constitutional protections for gun rights.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

In his 14-page dissent from the denial of review, Thomas focused his unhappiness with that decision at both his colleagues and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which had upheld the waiting period.

"If a lower court treated another right so cavalierly, I have little doubt that this court would intervene", Thomas continued.

The National Rifle Association and state gun rights advocates argued the law violates the Second Amendment because the criminal misuse of firearms targeted by the APPS is not sufficiently related to the legal acquisition of firearms on which the fee is imposed. "And the lower courts seem to have gotten the message", Thomas added.

As the national debate over guns intensified following last week's school shooting in Florida that killed 17 students and teachers, the high court continued to resist inserting itself - a path it has followed for several years.

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

Another finding by the trial court that Thomas quoted is that individuals who meet California's requirements for a concealed-carry license are uniquely "unlikely" to "engage in impulsive acts of violence".

Moreover, Thomas said he suspected that four members of the court would vote to review a 10 day waiting period for abortions, or a 10-day waiting period on the publication of racist speech, or a 10 minute delay of a traffic stop because "abortion, speech and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights".

Criticizing the standard by which the Ninth Circuit reviewed the challenge, Thomas said it "allowed California to justify its waiting period with mere 'rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data'". "It instead dismissed any tailoring concerns by observing that intermediate scrutiny requires 'only that the regulation "promote a substantial government interest that would be achieved less effectively absent the regulation"'".

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