Amicus Brief: Silvester v. Harris

Everytown for Gun Safety filed this amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit in a case challenging California’s ten-day waiting period on firearm sales to people who already own guns. In the brief, Everytown explained that California’s waiting period is a longstanding, presumptively lawful regulation of commercial arms sales, and provided substantial historical material to assist the court in assessing California’s law.

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No. 14-16840
In the United States Court of Appeals
for the Ninth Circuit
____________________________
JEFF SILVESTER, BRANDON COMBS,
THE CALGUNS FOUNDATION, INC., a non-profit organization, and
THE SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION, INC., a non-profit organization,
Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
KAMALA HARRIS,
Attorney General of the State of California, in her official capacity,
Defendant-Appellant.
_____________________________
On Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of California
Case No. 1:11-cv-02137-AWI-SKO
(The Honorable Anthony W. Ishii, Senior District Judge)
____________________________
BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY
IN SUPPORT OF APPELLANT AND REVERSAL
____________________________
DEEPAK GUPTA
JONATHAN E. TAYLOR
GUPTA BECK PLLC
1735 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 888-1741
[email protected]
Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Everytown for Gun Safety
April 1, 2015
i
CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Amicus Curiae Everytown for Gun Safety has no parent corporations. It has no
stock, and therefore, no publicly held company owns 10% or more of its stock.
/s/ Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta
ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Corporate disclosure statement………………………………………………………………………. i
Table of authorities…………………………………………………………………………………….. iv
Introduction and interest of amicus curiae…………………………………………………………. 1
Statement …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5
1. California adopts its waiting period alongside one of the earliest
prohibitions on firearm possession by felons (1923) …………………………… 5
2. California’s law is part of a national trend, modeled on legislation
drafted by the NRA’s leaders (1923–1925) ………………………………………. 5
3. Uniform legislation is developed, as more states enact waiting
periods (1926–1936) ……………………………………………………………………… 7
4. Congress enacts a waiting period for Washington, DC (1932)…………….. 9
5. The NRA urges enactment of legislation with a waiting period
(1932) ………………………………………………………………………………………… 10
6. As broad consensus develops, California’s waiting period is
extended (1956–1974) …………………………………………………………………. 10
7. Governor Ronald Reagan signs into law a 15-day waiting period
for California and later, as president, touts its lifesaving success in
urging a federal analogue (1975–1991) ………………………………………….. 11
Argument …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13
I. California’s ten-day waiting period is a presumptively lawful
regulation, and the district court’s contrary conclusion resulted
from an erroneously cramped historical analysis……………………………… 13
A. California’s waiting-period law is “longstanding.”……………………. 14
B. California’s waiting-period law regulates the “commercial
sale of arms.” ………………………………………………………………………. 18
C. Any burden imposed by California’s law is de minimis. ……………. 19
II. Even if California’s waiting-period law were not presumptively
lawful, it would easily pass muster under intermediate scrutiny…………. 20
A. The district court misapplied intermediate scrutiny. ………………… 20
B. California’s law easily satisfies intermediate scrutiny,
properly applied. …………………………………………………………………. 23
Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28
iii
Appendix of historical statutes and materials …………………………………………..App. 1
Historical state statutes………………………………………………………………….. App. 1
1923 Cal. Laws 695 ………………………………………………………………. App. 1
1923 Conn. Laws 3707………………………………………………………….. App. 9
1923 N.D. Laws 379……………………………………………………………. App. 13
1925 Ind. Laws 495 …………………………………………………………….. App. 18
1925 N.J. Laws 185 …………………………………………………………….. App. 25
1925 Or. Laws 468……………………………………………………………… App. 30
1927 Haw. Laws 209…………………………………………………………… App. 38
1927 Mass. Laws 413 ………………………………………………………….. App. 47
1927 N.J. Laws 742 …………………………………………………………….. App. 51
1931 Pa. Laws 497………………………………………………………………. App. 60
1935 S.D. Laws 355…………………………………………………………….. App. 66
1935 Wash. Laws 599………………………………………………………….. App. 70
1936 Ala. Laws 51 ………………………………………………………………. App. 76
History of uniform state legislation ……………………………………………….. App. 80
3rd Report of Comm. on a Uniform Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession
of Firearms, Nat’l Conference on Uniform State Laws (1926) …….. App. 80
Report of Comm. on an Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession of Firearms,
Nat’l Conference on Uniform State Laws (1930)…………………….. App. 94
Charles Imlay, Uniform Firearms Act, 12 A.B.A. J. 767 (1926)……. App. 139
Federal legislative history …………………………………………………………… App. 142
Act of July 8, 1932, ch. 465, 47 Stat. 650……………………………… App. 142
75 Cong. Rec. 12754 (June 13, 1932) ………………………………….. App. 147
Hearing on the National Firearms Act,73d Cong. 38 (1934)…… App. 149
Other historical materials ………………………………………………………….. App. 154
Alan C. Webber, Where the NRA Stands on Gun Legislation, The
American Rifleman (Mar. 1968) …………………………………………. App. 154
Sportsmen Fight Sullivan Law, 23 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 665
(1932) ………………………………………………………………………………. App. 156
iv
TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Cases
Bernal v. Fainer,
467 U.S. 216 (1984) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 22
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission,
447 U.S. 557 (1980) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 22
Dearth v. Holder,
893 F. Supp. 2d 59 (D.D.C. 2012) ……………………………………………………………. 18
District of Columbia v. Heller,
554 U.S. 570 (2008) ……………………………………………………………………………passim
Fyock v. Sunnyvale,
— F.3d —, 2015 WL 897747 (9th Cir. Mar. 4, 2015) ………………….. 4, 14, 15, 18
Garcetti v. Ceballos,
547 U.S. 410 (2006) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 17
Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Association v. United States,
527 U.S. 173 (1999) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 21
Heller v. District of Columbia,
670 F.3d 1244 (D.C. Cir. 2011) ……………………………………………………………….. 19
Jackson v. San Francisco,
746 F.3d 953 (9th Cir. 2014)………………………………………………………………..passim
Metro Lights, L.L.C. v. City of Los Angeles,
551 F.3d 898 (9th Cir. 2009)……………………………………………………………………. 23
NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives,
700 F.3d 185 (5th Cir. 2012)……………………………………………………………………. 16
People v. Bickston,
91 Cal. App. 3d 29 (Ct. App. 1979) ………………………………………………………….. 11
Printz v. United States,
521 U.S. 898 (1997) ……………………………………………………………………………….. 12
v
Turner Broad. System, Inc. v. Federal Communications Commission,
520 U.S. 180 (1997) ……………………………………………………………………………. 4, 28
United States v. Bena,
664 F.3d 1180 (8th Cir. 2011)………………………………………………………………….. 15
United States v. Booker,
644 F.3d 12 (1st Cir. 2011)………………………………………………………………………. 15
United States v. Skoien,
614 F.3d 638 (7th Cir. 2010)………………………………………………………………..passim
United States v. Vongxay,
594 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir. 2009)………………………………………………………………….. 14
Vanguard Outdoor, LLC v. City of Los Angeles,
648 F.3d 737 (9th Cir. 2011)……………………………………………………………………. 23
Woollard v. Gallagher,
712 F.3d 865 (4th Cir. 2013)……………………………………………………………………. 21
Federal Legislative Materials
18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1) ……………………………………………………………………………………. 9
18 U.S.C. § 922(s)(1)(A)(ii) …………………………………………………………………………… 12
Act of July 8, 1932, ch. 465, §§ 1, 8, 47 Stat. 650, 652 ……………………………………… 9
Federal Firearms Act, ch. 850, § 2(f), 52 Stat. 1250………………………………………….. 9
75 Cong. Rec. 12754 (June 13, 1932)…………………………………………………………….. 9
National Firearms Act: Hearings Before the Comm. on Ways & Means House of
Representatives, 73d Cong. 38 (1934) …………………………………………………………….. 7
State Legislative Materials
Cal. Penal Code § 26815(a)…………………………………………………………………………. 12
Cal. Penal Code § 27540(a)…………………………………………………………………………. 12
Law of Apr. 27, 1927, Act 206, §§ 4, 9, 1927 Haw. Laws 209, 211 ……………………. 9
vi
Law of Apr. 27, 1927, ch. 326, §§ 2, 3, 1927 Mass. Laws 413, 414…………………….. 9
Law of Apr. 6, 1936, No. 82, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1936 Ala. Laws 51, 52 …………………………. 9
Law of Feb. 26, 1925, ch. 260, § 10, 1925 Or. Laws 468………………………………….. 6
Law of June 11, 1931, No. 158, §§ 4, 9, 1931 Pa. Laws 497, 498-99 ………………….. 8
Law of June 13, 1923, ch. 339, §§ 2, 10, 1923 Cal. Laws 695, 696 ………….. 5, 15, 17
Law of June 2, 1923, ch. 252, § 7, 1923 Conn. Laws 3707 ……………………………….. 6
Law of Mar. 12, 1925, ch. 207, § 9, 1925 Ind. Laws 495 ………………………………….. 6
Law of Mar. 12, 1925, ch. 64, § 4, 1925 N.J. Laws 185 ……………………………………. 6
Law of Mar. 14, 1935, ch. 208, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1935 S.D. Laws 355, 356………………….. 9
Law of Mar. 23, 1935, ch. 172, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1935 Wash. Laws 599, 601……………….. 9
Law of Mar. 30, 1927, ch. 321, § 6(4)(b), 1927 N.J. Laws 742 …………………………… 6
Law of Mar. 7, 1923, ch. 266, § 10, 1923 N.D. Laws 379……………………………. 6, 15
3rd Report of Committee on a Uniform Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession of
Firearms, 36th Conference Handbook of the National Conference on
Uniform State Laws & Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (1926)…………………. 7
Report of Committee on an Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession of Firearms,
40th Conference Handbook of the National Conference on
Uniform State Laws & Proceedings of the Annual Meeting (1930)………… 7, 8, 19
Books and Articles
Charles V. Imlay, The Uniform Firearms Act, 12 A.B.A. J. 767 (1926)………………… 6, 7
Carlton F. W. Larson, Four Exceptions in Search of A Theory: District of
Columbia v. Heller and Judicial Ipse Dixit, 60 Hastings L.J. 1371 (2009)……………… 16
Jens Ludwig & Philip J. Cook, Homicide & Suicide Rates Associated with
Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, 284 J. Am.
Med. Ass’n 585 (2000)…………………………………………………………………………….. 26
vii
Ronald Reagan, Why I’m for the Brady Bill, N.Y. Times,
Mar. 29, 1991………………………………………………………………………… 11, 12, 25, 27
Michael P. Romero & Garen J. Wintemute, The Epidemiology of Firearm
Suicide in the United States, 79 J. Urban Health 39 (2002) ……………………………….. 26
Lawrence E. Rosenthal & Adam Winkler, The Scope of Regulatory
Authority under the Second Amendment, Reducing Gun Violence in
America (2013)………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
Sportsmen Fight Sullivan Law, 23 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 665 (1932) ………………. 10
William B. Swaney, What Shall we do to Stop Crime?, N.Y. Times
Current History, Sept. 1922 ……………………………………………………………………… 5
The Uniform Firearms Act, 18 Va. L. Rev. 904 (1932) ………………………………………… 10
Alan C. Webber, Where the NRA Stands on Gun Legislation, The American
Rifleman (Mar. 1968)…………………………………………………………………. 4, 8, 11, 28
Adam Winkler, Fatal in Theory & Strict in Fact: An Empirical Analysis of
Strict Scrutiny in the Federal Courts, 59 Vand. L. Rev. 793, 862-63
(2006)……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22
Adam Winkler, Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America
(2011)…………………………………………………………………………………………. 11, 25, 27
1
INTRODUCTION AND INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE
Everytown for Gun Safety is the largest gun-violence-prevention
organization in the country. It has more than 2.5 million supporters—everyday
Americans, moms, survivors of gun violence, and more than 1,000 current and
former mayors from across the nation, including the current mayors of more than
50 California cities. They are united in their understanding that respect for the
Second Amendment can go hand-in-hand with common-sense gun laws.
1
Everytown files this brief because the district court’s decision threatens that
understanding. Its reasoning, if upheld, would imperil a broad range of 20thcentury
gun laws deemed “presumptively lawful” in District of Columbia v. Heller—
including federal “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the
mentally ill” and laws “imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial
sale of arms.” 554 U.S. 570, 626-27 & n.26 (2008). This brief highlights the flaws in
the court’s cramped historical analysis and its overzealous application of Second
Amendment scrutiny. In particular, the brief provides this Court with a fuller
history of California’s waiting-period law, the model legislation from which it
emerged, and the broad national consensus that developed around it in the years
following its passage—a history that was overlooked by the district court.
1 All parties consent to the filing of this brief, and no counsel for any party
authored it in whole or part. Apart from amicus curiae, no person contributed money
intended to fund the preparation and submission of the brief.
2
For nearly a century, California has required gun buyers to wait a short
period of time before receiving their firearms. Although the period has varied—
from one day (in 1923) to fifteen days (in 1975) to ten days today—its purpose has
remained the same: to give law enforcement enough time to determine whether the
buyer falls into a category prohibited from owning a gun (such as felons or the
mentally ill), while creating a brief cooling-off period to reduce impulsive violence.
California’s waiting period originated in legislation containing one of the nation’s
earliest felon prohibitions—legislation written by the National Rifle Association’s
leaders and promoted by the NRA as model legislation for the states to enact,
many of which did just that. As governor, Ronald Reagan extended the waiting
period, and later, as president, cited its success in urging a national analogue.
Today, fifteen states and the District of Columbia either have waiting periods or
require permits to purchase that can take 10 days—or more—to issue.
Dismissing this consensus and tradition, the district court struck down
California’s waiting period as applied to those who (a) already possess a firearm,
concealed-carry permit, or certificate of eligibility, and (b) pass the State’s
background check before the waiting period elapses. EOR 2. In reaching that
conclusion—the first of its kind from any court—the district court made at least
two fundamental errors, both of which independently require reversal.
3
First, the court misapplied the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller, which
struck down one of the most “severe restriction[s]” in “the history of our Nation”
because it “amount[ed] to a destruction” of “the right of law-abiding, responsible
citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” 554 U.S. at 628-29, 635. Heller
made clear, however, that “nothing in [the] opinion should be taken to cast doubt
on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the
mentally ill, . . . or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial
sale of arms,” which are “presumptively lawful.” Id. at 626-27 & n.26.
California’s law is a century-old commercial sales regulation that facilitates
the prohibitions on felons and the mentally ill, but the district court refused to
recognize it as “presumptively lawful.” Instead, the court characterized it as neither
“longstanding” (because “no statutes or regulations around 1791 or 1868” created
waiting periods) nor a condition “on the commercial sale of arms” (because there
are “no comparable commercial laws that apply to other goods”). EOR 42-44.
But gun laws “need not mirror limits that were on the books in 1791” or
1868 to qualify as presumptively lawful. United States v. Skoien, 614 F.3d 638, 641
(7th Cir. 2010) (en banc). To the contrary, the laws Heller itself identifies as
“longstanding” and presumptively lawful are of the same “20th Century vintage”
as California’s law. Id. This Court recently made clear that Heller erases any doubt
that “early twentieth century regulations” like California’s law may “demonstrate a
4
history of longstanding regulation” even if they lack a “precise founding-era
analogue.” Fyock v. Sunnyvale, — F.3d —, 2015 WL 897747, *4 (9th Cir. Mar. 4,
2015). Because the challenged law imposes a condition on firearm sales to enforce
categorical prohibitions originating in the very same statute, it is just as
“longstanding” and “presumptively lawful” as those prohibitions.
Nor can the plaintiffs rebut that presumption. They already own firearms.
Waiting a week to add another gun to their arsenals is a de minimis burden, at best.
The Constitution speaks of a “right to keep and bear arms”—not a guarantee of
the ability to instantaneously stockpile an unlimited cache of lethal weapons.
Second, even assuming some Second Amendment scrutiny were appropriate,
the district court erred by insisting, in effect, on the least restrictive means.
“[I]ntermediate scrutiny does not require the least restrictive means of furthering a
given end,” but only that the law be “substantially related” to that end—a hurdle
this law easily clears. Jackson v. San Francisco, 746 F.3d 953, 969 (9th Cir. 2014). Nor
does the law burden the right “substantially more” than necessary. Turner Broad. Sys.
v. FCC, 520 U.S. 180, 185 (1997). As an NRA official observed when the group
backed a seven-day waiting period, such laws have “not proved to be an undue
burden on the shooter and sportsman.” Webber, Where the NRA Stands on Gun
Legislation, The American Rifleman, at 22 (Mar. 1968).
5
STATEMENT
1. California adopts its waiting period alongside one of the
earliest prohibitions on firearm possession by felons. California first
enacted its waiting-period law almost a hundred years ago, in 1923, as part of a
broader effort to regulate firearms in this country. At the time, “more than 9,500
unlawful homicides” occurred every year in the U.S., 90% of which were
committed with firearms—“worse than that in any other civilized country.” Report
of the Special Commission on Law Enforcement, in Swaney, What Shall we do to Stop
Crime?, N.Y. Times Current History, Sept. 1922, at 924.
California’s law did two things relevant to this case: First, it prohibited
convicted felons from owning or possessing a firearm and imposed a corresponding
restriction on selling them a gun. Law of June 13, 1923, ch. 339, §§ 2, 10, 1923 Cal.
Laws 695, 696. Second, it required a one-day waiting period before consummating
the sale of any firearm, and prescribed instructions for delivery of the firearm after
the waiting period ended. Id. § 10. This second provision facilitated the first, and
the legislature put the waiting-period requirement right next to the ban on sales to
felons, in the first two sentences of the same section. Id.
2. California’s law is part of a national trend, modeled on
legislation drafted by the NRA’s leaders. California was not the only state to
enact these provisions during this time. Earlier that same year, North Dakota
6
prohibited sales to felons and created a one-day waiting period, while making the
link between the two even more pronounced: North Dakota placed the
requirements in the same sentence, under a section entitled “Sales Regulated.”
Law of Mar. 7, 1923, ch. 266, § 10, 1923 N.D. Laws 379, 381. A few months later,
Connecticut imposed a one-day waiting period on all handgun sales. Law of June 2,
1923, ch. 252, § 7, 1923 Conn. Laws 3707, 3708. And in 1925, two more states—
Oregon and Indiana—enacted one-day waiting periods and banned sales to felons
in nearly identical provisions. See Law of Feb. 26, 1925, ch. 260, § 10, 1925 Or.
Laws 468, 473; Law of Mar. 12, 1925, ch. 207, § 9, 1925 Ind. Laws 495, 497.2
That these laws were nearly identical was no coincidence: they were all
proposed and advocated by the U.S. Revolver Association, a “non-commercial
organization of amateur experts in the use of revolvers,” which had spent several
years urging states to adopt uniform firearm legislation to combat the growing
wave of violence (and as an alternative to stricter laws like New York’s Sullivan Act,
which required a permit to possess a firearm). Imlay, The Uniform Firearms Act, 12
A.B.A. J. 767, 767 (1926). The NRA’s president, Karl T. Frederick, was “one of
2 Another state, New Jersey, enacted a 24-hour waiting period that same
year. Law of Mar. 12, 1925, ch. 64, § 4, 1925 N.J. Laws 185, 188. Two years later,
New Jersey extended its waiting period to seven days. Law of Mar. 30, 1927, ch.
321, § 6(4)(b), 1927 N.J. Laws 742, 745.
7
the draftsmen.” 3rd Report of Comm. on Uniform Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession of
Firearms, Nat’l Conf. on Uniform State Laws 573 (1926) (1926 Conference Report).
California’s law “follow[ed] the Revolver Association Act very closely,” and
North Dakota and Indiana adopted it “practically verbatim.” Imlay, Uniform
Firearms Act, 12 A.B.A. J. at 767. As Mr. Frederick explained in his testimony to
Congress in 1934, the law that “was first drafted by me about 14 years ago . . . has
been the law in California for many years.” National Firearms Act: Hearings Before the
Comm. on Ways & Means, 73d Cong. 38, 39 (1934).
3. Uniform legislation is developed, as more states enact waiting
periods. Around the time that California enacted its waiting-period law, the
National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws took up firearms
legislation. In 1926, the Conference selected the Revolver Association Act “as the
model of the draft of the Uniform Act,” because it had “already gained ground” in
the states. Report of Comm. on Act to Regulate the Sale & Possession of Firearms, Nat’l Conf.
on Uniform State Laws 569 (1930) (1930 Conference Report). The Conference
expressed its belief that “the provisions of the proposed law present no
constitutional obstacles” and “constitute no radical changes in existing laws.” 1926
Conference Report at 574. The Conference explained that the waiting period was
“intended to avoid the sale of a firearm to a person in a fit of passion.” Id. at 582-83.
8
Four years later, in 1930, the Conference revised the law slightly, and the
ABA again approved. Id. at 568. This law extended the waiting period to 48 hours
and the sales prohibition to “drug addict[s],” “habitual drunkard[s],” and those of
“unsound mind.” Id. at 565.In doing so, the act “adopt[ed] the principle of a strict
regulation of the sale and purchase of pistols” to keep “weapons out of the hand of
criminals and other prohibited classes,” while also subscribing to “the theory that
the securing of a pistol by a householder as a legitimate means of defense should
not be made difficult.” Id. at 570. The NRA’s Frederick was a “special consultant”
to the Conference, and helped “frame” the 1930 law. Webber, Where the NRA Stands,
at 22; see also 1926 Conference Report at 573 (noting that Frederick likewise
“considered with the chairman all the points covered” in the 1926 version).
To the Conference, the uniform firearms act “embodie[d] sane forms of
regulation which have stood the test of experience in this country,” yet also
reflected some of the “new ideas [that] ha[d] been presented from time to time.
Thus, at the same time that it preserves the traditional methods of firearms
regulation, it takes advantage of enlightened experience of recent years.” 1930
Conference Report at 532. Over the next few years, four additional states passed laws
with 48-hour waiting periods and violent-criminal prohibitions: Pennsylvania,
South Dakota, Washington, and Alabama. See Law of June 11, 1931, No. 158, §§ 4,
9, 1931 Pa. Laws 497, 498-99; Law of Mar. 14, 1935, ch. 208, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1935 S.D.
9
Laws 355, 356; Law of Mar. 23, 1935, ch. 172, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1935 Wash. Laws 599,
601; Law of Apr. 6, 1936, No. 82, §§ 4, 8, 9, 1936 Ala. Laws 51, 52.3
4. Congress enacts a waiting period for Washington, DC. In 1932,
Congress enacted a nearly identical version of the uniform act for the District of
Columbia, including the 48-hour waiting period and violent-criminal prohibition.
Act of July 8, 1932, ch. 465, §§ 1, 8, 47 Stat. 650, 652. The legislation’s sponsor,
Senator Arthur Capper (R-KS), remarked on the Senate floor that the law had
“the very strong approval of the police department of the District of Columbia, of
the District Commissioners, and of the civic organizations.” 75 Cong. Rec. 12754
(June 13, 1932). And although the waiting period required that a firearm “sale
would not be consummated until 48 hours after the application was made,” he
explained, “[t]he right of an individual to possess a pistol in his home or on land
belonging to him would not be disturbed by the bill.” Id.4
3 Hawaii enacted a one-day waiting period and a violent-criminal
prohibition in 1927. Law of Apr. 27, 1927, Act 206, §§ 4, 9, 1927 Haw. Laws 209,
211. On the same day, Massachusetts enacted a one-day waiting period, while
providing that felons could not receive a license to carry. Law of Apr. 27, 1927, ch.
326, §§ 2, 3, 1927 Mass. Laws 413, 414.
4 Congress didn’t enact “[t]he first federal statute disqualifying felons from
possessing firearms” until 1938, and it “covered only a few violent offenses.” Skoien,
614 F.3d at 640 (citing Federal Firearms Act, ch. 850, § 2(f), 52 Stat. 1250, 1251). It
wasn’t until the 1960s that Congress extended the ban to all felons. Id. (citing 18
U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)).
10
5. The NRA urges enactment of legislation with a waiting period.
Later that same year, the NRA held its annual meeting in New York City, during
which the “main order of business” was to urge the State of New York to replace
the Sullivan Act with the less strict uniform act, under which “the applicant for
pistol files an application with a firearms dealer and forty-eight hours later receives
the pistol for home use, providing the police investigation that has been made in
the meantime shows him to have a clean record as an upright citizen.” Sportsmen
Fight Sullivan Law, 23 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 665, 665 (1932). Although New
York’s legislature had passed the act earlier that year, Governor Franklin Roosevelt
vetoed it; in his view, the uniform act did not go far enough to regulate firearms.
The Uniform Firearms Act, 18 Va. L. Rev. 904, 904 & n.1 (1932).
6. As broad consensus develops, California’s waiting period is
extended. Over time, California extended its waiting period to three days (in
1956) and then five days (in 1965) to ensure that law enforcement had enough time
to “investigate the purchaser’s record, before he actually acquires the firearm, to
determine whether he falls within the class of persons prohibited from possessing
concealed firearms.” EOR 18, 243; see also EOR 250 (letter from assemblyman
explaining that law enforcement “fe[lt] that the three day waiting period [was] not
enough, in all cases, for them to run an adequate record check of the person
seeking to purchase a concealable weapon”); People v. Bickston, 91 Cal. App. 3d 29,
11
32 (Ct. App. 1979) (citing “legislative hearing records” showing that California’s
“Department of Justice needed more time to identify prospective purchasers,”
while the law also sought “to cool people off” and reduce impulsive violence).
These extensions were not controversial. By this point, even the NRA
supported federal legislation that would have “requir[ed] an additional 7-day
waiting period by the seller after receipt of acknowledgement of notification to local
police.” Webber, Where the NRA Stands, at 23; see also Winkler, Gunfight 70 (2011)
(“In the 1960s, the NRA endorsed a . . . seven-day waiting period to enable
background checks on handgun purchasers.”). An NRA pamphlet from the 1970s
also noted that a “waiting period could help in reducing crimes of passion in
preventing people with criminal records or dangerous mental illness from acquiring
guns.” Id. And NRA Secretary Frank C. Daniel recognized that waiting-period
laws have “not proved to be an undue burden on the shooter and sportsman,” and
“adequately protect[] citizens of good character.” Webber, Where the NRA Stands, at
23.
7. Governor Ronald Reagan signs into law a 15-day waiting period
for California and later, as president, touts its lifesaving success in
urging a federal analogue. California Governor Ronald Reagan shared this
view. In 1975, he “supported and signed into law” a 15-day waiting period for
California. Ronald Reagan, Why I’m for the Brady Bill, N.Y. Times, Mar. 29, 1991,
12
available at http://nyti.ms/1ktoY3u. In his view, the five-day waiting period did not
give law enforcement enough time “to thoroughly check all records of the
purchasers” before delivery. EOR 19.
Sixteen years later, when President Reagan announced his support for “a
national seven-day waiting period”—which he believed was needed to provide an
“enforcement mechanism” for the federal prohibition on sales to “felons, fugitives,
drug addicts[,] and the mentally ill”—he emphasized that California’s 15-day
waiting period had “stopped nearly 1,800 prohibited handgun sales in 1989” alone.
Reagan, Why I’m for the Brady Bill. Moreover, President Reagan explained, “since
many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle a quarrel, for example)
or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide,” requiring a purchaser to
wait a week or two before receiving the firearm provides “a cooling-off period” that
has “the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths.” Id.5
California has since reduced its waiting period to ten days, because the
Bureau of Firearms can conduct background checks more quickly using an
electronic database. See Cal. Penal Code §§ 26815(a) & 27540(a).
5 In 1993, Congress enacted the Brady Act, which among other things
required a gun dealer to “wait five business days before consummating [a] sale.”
Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 903 (1997) (citing 18 U.S.C. § 922(s)(1)(A)(ii)).
This five-day waiting period (apparently unconstitutional by the district court’s
lights) lapsed in 1998.
13
ARGUMENT
This Court follows a two-step inquiry to determine the constitutionality of a
gun law: (1) Does the law burden protected Second Amendment conduct? (2) And,
if so, does it satisfy the appropriate level of scrutiny? Jackson, 746 F.3d at 960. The
district court erred at both steps. California’s waiting period qualifies as one of the
“presumptively lawful regulatory measures” identified by the Supreme Court in
Heller, 554 U.S. at 626-27 & n.26, and imposes no more than a de minimis burden
on protected conduct—at least as applied to those who already own a firearm.
That should end the inquiry. But even if it didn’t, the law would easily survive
intermediate scrutiny because the ten-day waiting period is reasonably aimed at
reducing impulsive acts of violence by providing a short cooling-off period, and
allowing law enforcement enough time to conduct a background check and
investigate straw purchases.
I. California’s ten-day waiting period is a presumptively lawful
regulation, and the district court’s contrary conclusion resulted
from an erroneously cramped historical analysis.
Heller held that several types of laws—including “prohibitions on the
possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill” and “laws imposing conditions
and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms”—are presumed not to violate
the Second Amendment because of their longstanding acceptance as consistent
with its protections. 554 U.S. at 626-27 & n.26. Thus, “[t]o determine whether a
14
challenged law falls outside the historical scope of the Second Amendment, [this
Court] ask[s] whether the regulation is one of the ‘presumptively lawful regulatory
measures’ identified in Heller.” Jackson, 746 F.3d at 960; see also Fyock, 2015 WL
897747, *4 (explaining that Heller’s “longstanding prohibitions . . . fall outside of the
Second Amendment’s scope”); United States v. Vongxay, 594 F.3d 1111, 1115, 1117
(9th Cir. 2009). California’s waiting period is as longstanding (and thus as
presumptively lawful) as the regulations Heller identified. Indeed, it was adopted in
the same section of the same statute that enacted California’s first felon prohibition.
Yet the district court held that the law—despite being on the books for
nearly a century—is not a “longstanding regulatory measure” and doesn’t impose a
“condition [or] qualification on the commercial sale of a firearm.” EOR 42. That
is doubly wrong: The law is “longstanding” under Heller and this Court’s case law.
And it clearly imposes a condition on commercial sales—a condition designed to
facilitate equally longstanding laws prohibiting possession by felons and the
mentally ill. It is therefore presumptively constitutional, and the plaintiffs cannot
overcome the presumption here.
A. California’s waiting-period law is “longstanding.”
The district court reasoned that the law is not “longstanding” because there
are “no statutes or regulations around 1791 or 1868 that imposed waiting periods
between the time of purchase and the time of delivery.” EOR 42-44. But as Judge
15
Easterbrook has explained, gun laws “need not mirror limits that were on the
books in 1791” (or for that matter, 1868) to qualify as longstanding under Heller.
Skoien, 614 F.3d at 641; see also United States v. Bena, 664 F.3d 1180, 1182 (8th Cir.
2011) (same); United States v. Booker, 644 F.3d 12, 23 (1st Cir. 2011) (“[T]he
legislative role did not end in 1791.”). This Court recently held the same. Just last
month, it made clear that “early twentieth century regulations”—like the one at
issue here—may “demonstrate a history of longstanding regulation if their
historical prevalence and significance is properly developed in the record.” Fyock,
2015 WL 897747, at *4.
Any other rule would conflict with Heller, which deemed certain laws
“longstanding” even though they lacked a “precise founding-era analogue.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). The first felon prohibitions in state law, for
example, arose in the early 20th century (in the same laws creating the first waiting
periods). See, e.g., 1923 Cal. Laws 695, 696, 701, §§ 2, 10; 1923 N.D. Laws 379,
380-81, §§ 5, 10. And “[t]he first federal statute disqualifying felons from possessing
firearms was not enacted until 1938,” while “the ban on possession by all felons was
not enacted until 1961.” Skoien, 614 at 640; see also Booker, 644 F.3d at 23-24
(“[T]he modern federal felony firearm disqualification law . . . is firmly rooted in
the twentieth century and likely bears little resemblance to laws in effect at the time
the Second Amendment was ratified.”). With few exceptions, “legal limits on the
16
possession of firearms by the mentally ill also are of 20th Century vintage.” Skoien,
614 at 641.
As for “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale
of arms,” Heller, 554 U.S. at 626-27, they too are without a Founding- or
Reconstruction-Era pedigree. One scholar surveyed the landscape and was “unable
to identify any eighteenth-century American laws that specifically regulate
commercial aspects of firearms sales.” Larson, Four Exceptions in Search of A Theory:
District of Columbia v. Heller and Judicial Ipse Dixit, 60 Hastings L.J. 1371, 1379 (2009).
It was not until 1927—four years after California enacted its waiting period—that
“federal commercial regulation of firearms began.” Id.
Yet all these laws are “presumptively constitutional, as Heller said in note 26.”
Skoien, 614 F.3d at 640; see also NRA v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives,
700 F.3d 185, 196 (5th Cir. 2012) (“Heller considered firearm possession bans on
felons and the mentally ill to be longstanding, yet the current versions of these bans
are of mid-20th century vintage.”). Thus, “Heller demonstrates that a regulation can
be deemed ‘longstanding’ even if it cannot boast a precise founding-era analogue.”
Id.; see also Rosenthal & Winkler, The Scope of Regulatory Authority under the Second
Amendment, Reducing Gun Violence in America 228 (2013) (“[I]n determining the
scope of the Second Amendment right,” courts have “conclude[d] that legislatures
17
are not limited to framing-era regulations” because “the laws characterized as
presumptively valid in Heller . . . did not exist at the time of ratification.”).6
So the constitutional question is not, as the district court wrongly thought,
whether there were any “waiting period laws in any states during the time periods
around 1791 and 1868.” EOR 43. Instead, it is whether California’s waiting-period
law is “longstanding” within the meaning of Heller. It is.
California’s law was originally enacted in 1923, as part of the first wave of
laws creating waiting periods in this country. All told, a dozen states enacted
waiting periods in the 1920s and 30s consistent with the Uniform Law
Commission’s model legislation, and Congress enacted a waiting period for the
District of Columbia. There was such consensus about these waiting periods that
even the NRA advocated their adoption for the first three-quarters of the 20th
century. Many waiting periods, moreover, arose in the same laws containing some
of the earliest felon prohibitions—including California’s. 1923 Cal. Laws 695, 696,
701, §§ 2, 10. How can one part be longstanding, but not another? Given this
“historical prevalence,” California’s law is a “longstanding” regulation under Heller.
6 First Amendment doctrine bolsters this conclusion. It has “long had
categorical limits” that “are not restricted to those recognized in 1791.” Skoien, 614
F.3d at 641. Child pornography, for example, is unprotected “even though the
materials do not meet the historical definition of obscenity.” Id. Another example is
“speech as part of a public employee’s job,” held in 2006 to be “categorically
outside the First Amendment.” Id. (citing Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006)).
18
Fyock, 2015 WL 897747, at *4; see also Dearth v. Holder, 893 F. Supp. 2d 59, 66
(D.D.C. 2012) (Wilkins, J.) (holding that a 1968 federal law was “longstanding”
under Heller in part because its state-law analogues dated to 1909).
B. California’s waiting-period law regulates the “commercial
sale of arms.”
The district court also determined that “it is not clear to the Court that a 10-
day waiting period would qualify as a commercial regulation” because California
“cite[d] no comparable commercial laws that apply to other goods and that require
an individual to wait around 10-days [sic] before completing a purchase.” EOR 43.
There can be no serious debate, however, that California’s waiting-period law
“impos[es] conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” Heller,
554 U.S. at 626-27. It regulates the transfer of a firearm in a sale—and thus
regulates when the sale is consummated. And it does so to help law enforcement
determine whether the buyer may lawfully purchase the gun, which the district
court recognized is a form of commercial regulation. EOR 43. That means that the
waiting period imposes a condition on the sale of firearms, regardless of whether
other laws impose similar conditions on the sale of other products. See Dearth, 893 F.
Supp. 2d at 66 (holding that federal law prohibiting non-residents from receiving
arms from unlicensed dealers “pertain[s] to the transfer or sale of firearms, rather
than the mere possession of firearms,” and thus “impos[es] conditions and
qualifications on the commercial sale of arms”). Lest there be any doubt, the very
19
section in which the waiting period appears in the 1930 model act is entitled “Sales
Regulated.” 1930 Conference Report at 565.
Because California’s waiting-period law is a longstanding commercial
regulation—and because it has been directly connected, from its inception, with
facilitating “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and
the mentally ill”—the law is “presumptively lawful” under Heller, 554 U.S. at 626.
C. Any burden imposed by California’s law is de minimis.
Even if this Court were to consider, as some courts have, whether the
plaintiffs “may rebut this presumption” by establishing that the law has “more than
a de minimis effect” on their rights, the plaintiffs could not make that showing here.
See, e.g., Heller v. District of Columbia, 670 F.3d 1244, 1253 (D.C. Cir. 2011). The
Supreme Court in Heller held that the core of the Second Amendment is “the right
of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.”
554 U.S. at 635. This case is an as-applied challenge to a waiting period brought
by people who already own firearms. Any burden imposed by the ten-day wait is
thus exceedingly slight: The law does not block the plaintiffs’ right to defend
themselves in their homes for any period of time; instead, it simply delays their
ability to supplement their existing arsenals by a little more than a week. Because
the United States Constitution contains no guarantee of a right to instantaneously
20
purchase an unlimited quantity of lethal weapons, any burden imposed on the
plaintiffs is de minimis.
Holding otherwise, the district court reasoned that the plaintiffs’ ability “to
exercise their Second Amendment right with respect to at least one firearm does
not mean that they have diminished rights under the Second Amendment.” EOR
42 n.33. But the point is not that they have diminished rights; it’s that the burden
imposed on their rights is diminished because they already own firearms to defend
themselves, so the short period of time they have to wait to acquire additional
firearms poses no serious infringement. And any burden is further diminished by
the fact that the plaintiffs in this case “do not argue that they should be exempt
from a background check[,] nor do they argue that the background check is
unconstitutional,” but instead complain only that they should not be required to
wait the extra time after the background check is completed (often just a day or two
because the vast majority of applications require a manual review). EOR 8, 29-30,
45. At least as applied to those who already own firearms, that is at most a de
minimis burden.
II. Even if California’s waiting-period law were not presumptively
lawful, it would easily pass muster under intermediate scrutiny.
A. The district court misapplied intermediate scrutiny.
Erroneously proceeding to step two of the inquiry, the district court
purported to “examine the waiting period laws under intermediate scrutiny,” EOR
21
44, a standard that requires a “reasonable fit” between the challenged regulation
and an important state interest. Jackson, 746 F.3d at 965. The court recognized that
“California has important interests in public safety/preventing gun violence and
preventing prohibited individuals from obtaining firearms,” yet held that the law is
not a “reasonable fit” with any of those interests as applied to people who already
own firearms and who pass a background check before the waiting period is over.
EOR 44-54. Under that holding, California would be required to transfer firearms
to those people immediately upon completion of the background check—in other
words, to adopt the least restrictive means to achieve the State’s public-safety goals.
But “intermediate scrutiny does not require the least restrictive means of
furthering a given end.” Jackson, 746 F.3d at 969. It requires only that the law be
“substantially related” to an important state interest, thus allowing governments “a
reasonable opportunity to experiment with solutions to admittedly serious
problems”—an especially important concern in the Second Amendment context
because of the devastating effects of firearm violence. Id. at 969-70. Put differently,
under intermediate scrutiny, “the State must show a fit that is reasonable, not perfect.”
Woollard v. Gallagher, 712 F.3d 865, 878 (4th Cir. 2013) (emphasis added, internal
quotation marks omitted). And, to determine whether the fit is reasonable, the law
“ha[s] to be evaluated in the context of the entire regulatory scheme.” Greater New
Orleans Broad. Ass’n v. United States, 527 U.S. 173, 192-193 (1999).
22
The district court, however, focused exclusively on whether the law serves its
purposes only as to certain narrow categories of people, while ignoring whether it
does so in general. See EOR 45. But if intermediate scrutiny is to mean anything—
if it truly allows the State leeway in writing legislation to solve pressing societal
problems—then courts may not insist on exceptions that would eliminate that
leeway under the guise of intermediate scrutiny. To do so is to demand the least
restrictive means, and thus to impermissibly bootstrap strict scrutiny into the
inquiry.7
This Court has recognized as much in the First Amendment context, which
“bears strong analogies” to the question here. Jackson, 746 F.3d at 960. Challenges
to commercial-speech restrictions, for example, have traditionally been subject to
intermediate scrutiny. See Central Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 447
U.S. 557 (1980). Those challenges, this Court has repeatedly emphasized, are “not
focused on the particular plaintiff; instead, the Court must look at” whether the law
advances the State’s interest “in its general application, not specifically with respect
7 Strict scrutiny is inapplicable. As applied to those with firearms, the law
“does not impose the sort of severe burden” that might justify strict scrutiny. Jackson,
746 F.3d at 964. And applying strict scrutiny to Heller’s “presumptively lawful”
categories would render them meaningless; strict scrutiny is “‘strict’ in theory but
usually ‘fatal’ in fact.” Bernal v. Fainer, 467 U.S. 216, 219 n.6 (1984); see Winkler,
Fatal in Theory & Strict in Fact: An Empirical Analysis of Strict Scrutiny in the Federal Courts,
59 Vand. L. Rev. 793, 862-63 (2006) (under strict scrutiny, courts strike down
about 70% of laws).
23
to a particular speaker.” Vanguard Outdoor v. City of Los Angeles, 648 F.3d 737, 743
(9th Cir. 2011) (emphasis added, internal quotation marks omitted). That is
because, when assessing whether the law’s fit is reasonable, “[i]t is readily apparent
that this question cannot be answered by limiting the inquiry to whether the
governmental interest is directly advanced as applied to a single person or entity.”
Metro Lights, L.L.C. v. City of Los Angeles, 551 F.3d 898, 904 (9th Cir. 2009).
Thus, although the district court purported to apply intermediate scrutiny, it
erred by failing to “look at whether the [law] advances its interest in its general
application, not specifically with respect to [the plaintiffs].” Id. When the law is
assessed under the proper standard, there can be little doubt that it satisfies
intermediate scrutiny.
B. California’s law easily satisfies intermediate scrutiny,
properly applied.
California has asserted that its waiting-period law serves three important
state interests: (1) allowing law enforcement enough time to complete a thorough
background check to ensure that the prospective purchaser may lawfully possess
the firearm before receiving it; (2) providing a cooling-off period to prevent
impulsive acts of violence more easily committed with a firearm; and (3) giving law
enforcement the opportunity to investigate straw purchases before they are
completed. EOR 45. Although the State need only show a reasonable fit with one
24
of these important interests, the ten-day waiting period is “substantially related” to
all three. Jackson, 746 F.3d at 966.
1. Background Checks. The district court found that the vast majority of
applications to purchase firearms (80%) are not automatically approved, and thus
“further review, analysis, and/or investigation is necessary to determine if a person
is prohibited from possessing a firearm.” EOR 46. This manual review is
frequently not completed until the very end of the ten-day period. EOR 30.
Because the plaintiffs deny neither that background checks help keep firearms out
of the hands of people barred from possessing them nor that this serves an
important state interest, the only question is whether California’s legislature
reasonably concluded that a ten-day period was necessary to facilitate this process.
As detailed in the Attorney General’s brief, the State sensibly concluded that
ten days were necessary because (a) the manual-review process can take several
days or more given that “many records have gaps and/or mistakes,” and (b) this
process often cannot begin right away because of the extraordinary number of
applications received every year. AG Br. 11. California’s elected leaders were
entitled to draw these “reasonable conclusions.” Jackson, 746 F.3d at 969.
Intermediate scrutiny does not require the State to put forward proof that its
aims are always achieved; the State instead “may rely on any evidence reasonably
believed to be relevant” in making policy to achieve important interests. Id. But
25
experience shows that California’s waiting period has in fact been effective. As
President Reagan noted in announcing his support for “a national seven-day
waiting period,” California’s 15-day waiting period “stopped nearly 1,800
prohibited handgun sales in 1989” alone, by “allow[ing] local law enforcement
officials to do background checks for criminal records or known histories of mental
disturbances” before the purchaser received the gun. Reagan, Why I’m for the Brady
Bill.
Without a waiting period, President Reagan stressed, the categorical
prohibitions on sales to “felons, fugitives, drug addicts[,] and the mentally ill” have
“no enforcement mechanism and basically work[] on the honor system, with the
purchaser filling out a statement that the gun dealer sticks in a drawer.” Id. The
waiting period gives teeth to these important prohibitions, and in doing so—as the
NRA informed its members in the 1970s—helps prevent “people with criminal
records or dangerous mental illness from acquiring guns.” Winkler, Gunfight 70.
2. Cooling Off. The law also reasonably advances California’s second
asserted interest: providing a cooling-off period to prevent suicides and crimes of
passion. There is ample evidence, as the Attorney General points out, “that people
who purchase firearms are at a high risk of committing suicide-by-firearm in the
first week after purchase.” AG Br. 13. By requiring prospective gun buyers to wait
ten days, California’s legislature “reasonably believed” that it would reduce the
26
number of avoidable suicides in the State, which in turn would benefit public safety.
Jackson, 746 F.3d at 969. The importance of that interest cannot be overstated.
Firearms account for as many as 57% of all suicides in the United States, and
“alternative means of suicide are less likely to be fatal.” Romero & Wintemute, The
Epidemiology of Firearm Suicide in the United States, 79 J. Urban Health 39, 47 (2002).
More than 90% of all suicide attempts with a firearm, if serious enough to require
hospital treatment, result in death; suicide attempts by drug poisoning, by
comparison, carry only a 2% fatality rate.8
Reducing the impulsive use of firearms is thus an eminently reasonable
policy determination that is “fairly support[ed]” by the evidence (which need not
be conclusive to uphold the law). Jackson, 746 F.3d at 969. Indeed, a rigorous
empirical study revealed a high correlation between state waiting-period laws and a
reduction in suicides by older Americans, the demographic group most likely to
commit suicide with a firearm. “This reduction in suicides . . . was much stronger
in states that had instituted both waiting periods and background checks . . . than
in states that only changed background check requirements.” Ludwig & Cook,
Homicide & Suicide Rates Associated with Implementation of the Brady Handgun Violence
Prevention Act, 284 J. Am. Med. Ass’n 585, 585 (2000), also at EOR 254.
8 See U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Injury Statistics Query
& Reporting System, http://1.usa.gov/1ni8EV8.
27
For the better part of the 20th century, this rationale was uncontroversial. As
late as the 1970s, the NRA supported a weeklong waiting period for precisely this
reason, explaining that laws like California’s “help in reducing crimes of passion.”
Winkler, Gunfight 70. This was also a basis for President Reagan’s support of a
national waiting period. Drawing on California’s long experience, Reagan
understood that “since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion (to settle
a quarrel, for example) or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide,”
requiring a purchaser to wait a week or two before receiving the firearm provides
“a cooling-off period” that has “the effect of reducing the number of handgun
deaths.” Reagan, Why I’m for the Brady Bill.
3. Straw Purchases. Finally, California’s law helps reduce straw
purchases—that is, purchases made by one person on behalf of another prohibited
purchaser. Without the ten-day waiting period, according to the trial testimony of
an official at California’s Bureau of Firearms, “many more straw purchases would
be completed, and the firearms would have to be retrieved from the prohibited
(and, likely, dangerous) people.” AG Br. 12. To prevent this result and ensure
sufficient time to investigate such purchases—which may include “review[ing]
paperwork at gun shops” and “observ[ing] behavior and interactions at gun shows,”
EOR 49—California reasonably decided to impose a ten-day waiting period. This
Court should not disturb that considered legislative judgment.
28
* * * *
In holding that California’s waiting period fails intermediate scrutiny, the
district court also implicitly concluded that the law burdens Second Amendment
conduct “substantially more” than necessary to further the State’s interest. See
Turner, 520 U.S. at 185; EOR 41. But, particularly as applied to those who already
own firearms, any burden imposed by a ten-day waiting period is not substantial. As
the historical record laid out here demonstrates, California’s waiting period is a
longstanding regulation of the type deemed presumptively lawful by the Supreme
Court in Heller. And for the first three-quarters of the 20th century, it was a law
with a broad national consensus behind it: even the nation’s leading gun-rights
organization recognized that waiting periods “adequately protect[] citizens of good
character” and have “not proved to be an undue burden on the shooter and
sportsman.” Webber, Where the NRA Stands, at 23. Because that recognition remains
as true today as it was then—especially as applied to those who already have access
to guns for self-defense—California’s waiting period does not violate the Second
Amendment.
CONCLUSION
The district court’s judgment should be reversed in its entirety.
29
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Deepak Gupta
DEEPAK GUPTA
JONATHAN E. TAYLOR
GUPTA BECK PLLC
1735 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 888-1741
April 1, 2015 Counsel for Amicus Curiae
Everytown for Gun Safety
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH RULE 32(a)(7)
I hereby certify that my word processing program, Microsoft Word, counted
6,913 words in the foregoing brief, exclusive of the portions excluded by Rule
32(a)(7)(B)(iii).
/s/ Deepak Gupta
April 1, 2015 Deepak Gupta
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that on April 1, 2015, I electronically filed the foregoing
Brief of Amicus Curiae Everytown for Gun Safety in Support of Appellants with the
Clerk of the Court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by using the
Appellate CM/ECF system. All participants are registered CM/ECF users, and
will be served by the Appellate CM/ECF system.
/s/ Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta

Silvester v. Harris

Silvester v. Harris