Waiting Periods for Firearms Sales Are Unconstitutional

I’m not a constitutional expert. Nor do I play one on the Internet. But I’m smart enough to understand that the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. Says so right on the parchment. And nowhere in that storied not to say sacred (Glenn) document do its authors mention anything about conditions upon that right. Nor is there any record of any Founding Father recommending restrictions upon this right like, say, limiting weapons to people inside their homes. While American gun rights have been abridged for decades, pro-gun groups are reclaiming lost ground. It’s two steps forward, one step back . . .

In the heart of gun control-land, a group of San Diego residents are fighting Sheriff William Gore’s refusal to issue concealed firearms permits to law-abiding citizens who consider self-defense “just cause” for exercising their Second Amendment rights. Earlier this month, they filed a Notice of Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn a Southern District Court ruling from December 10, 2010. The Court held that as California residents can carry unloaded weapons openly, concealed carry is unnecessary for self-defense. They affirmed Sheriff Gore’s belief that money is more important than human life.

Just as it is here in Rhode Island, San Diego will only issue a concealed carry permit to someone who can prove that they may be the target of thieves. If you own a jewelry store, or you’re a landlord carrying large amounts of cash, or carry high-priced testing and evaluation firearms to and from the range, you have a shot and being able to take a shot at someone threatening your life to relieve you of your assets. Apparently, evidently, your life and the life of your loves one are not assets that the Powers That Be deem worth of protection with a legally registered firearm.

Does Sheriff Gore carry a firearm? Duh. Do off-duty San Diego police carry firearms?Double duh. They can protect themselves and their families with a firearm. But you can’t. You don’t have the right to armed self-defense. And even when you do, in your own home, in many states you have to hang fire during a “cooling off period” before taking possession of a gun.

In Wisconsin, you have to wait 48 hours. In Illinois, it’s 72-hours for a handgun and 24 hours for a handgun. In RI, it’s seven days. In California, it’s ten. In Connecticut and Hawaii, 14. In North Carolina, it’s up to the discretion of the County Sheriff. So what’s wrong with that—other than the fact that there’s never been a scientific study on whether or not this kind of restriction reduces firearms-related “crimes of passion”? This, from mainlinemedianews.com:

A violent home invasion in the Bryn Mawr section of Radnor Township last August may have been an unusual crime for the area, but those in law enforcement know it was part of a regional trend.

According to police officials, career criminals in 2008 and this year all around Greater Philadelphia targeted the homes of Asian-American business owners for home invasions, scaring them and stealing cash and property.

People were killed in two of the cases.

So let’s say you’re an Asian-American business owner in one of the aforementioned states. You hear about these targeted attacks. You suspect you may be next. You’re not a gun owner but suddenly, understandably, you decide it would be a good idea. Sorry. Your Second Amendment rights are suspended for up to two weeks.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that there’s a process before you play the waiting game. In many cases, you have to apply for permission from the state to own a firearm in the first place. In some states, you have to have training, qualify, apply, pay fees and . . . wait. It’s not long, but it adds time to a situation where time can be the difference between life and death.

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States has incorporated the Second Amendment—ruling that it trumps local and state laws—it’s time for every state in the United States to remove regulations that restrict our right to bear arms, both at home and in public. Those who are fighting for that right, and those who aren’t, need to remember that this is a fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

comments

  1. avatar Martin Albright says:

    Robert: The problem here is the wording of the amendment itself. What does “shall not be infringed” actually mean in practical terms?

    Of course the second amendment absolutists would argue that it means the government cannot put any obstactle into the path of those who wish to obtain any armaments they wish. Nukes, nerve agent, howitzers – all OK for private owners. No restrictions on selling arms to convicted felons, the mentally ill, or illegal immigrants. Obviously, that’s the extreme position and one not endorsed by either the Heller or McDonald rulings, both of which went out of their way to make it clear that the government could put some limits on the ownership or carry of weapons without depriving Americans of their Constitutional right to arms.

    But as the Shakesepeare quote goes, “ay, there’s the rub”: If you’ve established that “reasonable” restrictions are OK, then what defines “reasonable?” Are waiting periods reasonable? Restrictions on selling guns to adults under 21? Restrictions on selling guns to convicted felons or those with restraining orders against them? Restrictions on what types of weapons can be sold and/or under what circumstances they may be carried?

    Those are all questions that will have to be settled by the courts and/or legislatures in the coming years. More proof that Heller and McDonald are not the end of the gun control debate, in many ways they are just the start of it.

  2. avatar Victor says:

    The only “waiting period” that should be implemented is when the firearm you want happens to be out of stock at the shop and the shopkeeper has to order it for you.

  3. avatar Ron Aermacchi says:

    Martin: What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you get?
    Infringed
    transitive and intransitive verb encroach on somebody’s rights or property: to take over land, rights, privileges, or activities that belong to somebody else, especially in a minor or gradual way “infringing on our personal freedom”
    I have NEVER heard ANYONE advocating personal ownership of NUKES, artillery or any other such BS. It’s funny how the courts say you don’t have to have an ID to prove you can vote legally BUT I need an ID and have to wait to execice MY right!

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