Ninth Circuit: Ten-Day Waiting Period on Firearm Purchases Is Constitutional

Mark O'Connor fills out his Federal background check paperwork as he purchases a handgun at the K&W Gunworks store on the day that U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, DC announced his executive action on guns on January 5, 2016 in Delray Beach, Florida. President Obama announced several measures that …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On December 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that California’s ten-day waiting period on gun purchases is constitutional.

People who purchase firearms in California undergo a background check and pay for the gun, then are required to wait ten days before being allowed to actually take possession of the firearm. The court described this waiting period as “a reasonable safety precaution.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Calguns and the Second Amendment Foundation filed the suit against the waiting period in 2011. They “argued that current gun owners are entitled to take home guns they purchase as soon as they pass a background check.” A federal judge sided with the Calguns and the Second Amendment Foundation in 2014, ruling that “the waiting period served no public-safety purpose when enforced against buyers who already own guns and who pass the background check.” But the 2014 ruling was appealed, and the Ninth Circuit has now ruled in favor of the state of California.

The Ninth Circuit saw the ten-day wait as a “cooling-off period.” Judge Mary M. Schroeder wrote, “An individual who already owns a hunting rifle, for example, may want to purchase a larger capacity weapon that will do more damage when fired into a crowd.”

Ironically, Florida has a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. The Orlando attacker waited three days, as required, before picking the handgun he carried into Orlando Pulse nightclub the night of his attack.

It is important to note that the language of a “cooling-off period” has been part of the liberal lexicon for decades; it is part of their justification for waiting periods. But framing a waiting period in this way misses a key point: namely, many innocent people–women in particular–are harmed by waiting periods. In New Jersey in 2015, Carol Bowne needed a gun for self-defense, and while she waited for the state’s permission to buy one, she was brutally stabbed to death in her own driveway.

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of “Bullets with AWR Hawkins,” a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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