June 19, 2018

US Supreme Court rejects 2 gun rights appeals

21 February 2018, 06:40 | Simon Arnold

A man buys a gun as his son waits for him at the Gun in Glendale

A man buys a gun as his son waits for him at the Gun in Glendale

The U.S. Supreme Court says it won't hear a case challenging California's 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases.

Demonstrations calling on Congress to enact stricter gun control laws have been led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. -where a gunman last week killed 14 students and three staff members. The year 2017 meanwhile was the deadliest stretch of mass shootings in modern USA history.

A woman who has accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment has written an article recounting her allegations in which she expresses "hope" that he is removed from the bench.

"Nearly eight years ago, this Court declared 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, '" he wrote. Lower federal courts, in the mean time, have adopted a fairly narrow view of the Heller and McDonald decisions, affirming a raft of gun control measures.

What is worse, he wrote, "this deferential analysis was indistinguishable from rational-basis review", yet the Supreme Court explicitly forbade rational-basis review in the Second Amendment context in its 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller. Writing in dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas faulted his colleagues for their "inaction" and for turning the Second Amendment into "a disfavored right in this Court". Americans have a right to have gun at home for self-defense, the court said in 5-4 decisions.

The high court declined, without comment, to review a challenge to California's 10-day waiting period for the purchase of firearms. The court said an additional waiting period can also promote public safety - for example, in the case of someone who owns a hunting rifle but now wants to buy a larger-capacity weapon that can be fired into a crowd.

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".

The justices said they won't hear arguments from gun-rights groups and two California residents who say they already own firearms and would quickly pass another background check. While those laws reflected the wisdom of "thousands of years of human history in every society known to have populated the planet", they faced a much tougher time in the Ninth Circuit than California's new and unusual waiting period for firearms. "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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