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Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to California gun law

The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a challenge to a California law that requires there be a 10-day waiting period after all gun sales, even if the person is already a registered gun owner.

California’s "cooling off period" is the second longest in the country, according to court documents, and was enacted to give state authorities time to run a background check and give individuals who might want the firearm to harm themselves or others an opportunity to calm down.

Only eight other states and the District of Columbia have any kind of waiting period.

Two California residents, Jeff Silvester and Brandon Combs, who already own guns legally, challenged the application of law along with two nonprofits: The Calguns Foundation Inc. and The Second Amendment Foundation Inc.

They argued the waiting period is unconstitutional when it’s applied to "subsequent purchasers" — individuals who already own a firearm according to California’s AFS database or have a valid concealed-carry license and individuals who clear a background check in less than 10 days.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It said the 10-day waiting period is a reasonable safety precaution for all purchasers of firearms and need not be suspended once a purchaser has been approved.

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented from the court’s decision to let the lower court ruling upholding the law stand.

“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 said, quoting the court’s precedent. 

The court also refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a California law that requires $5 of each $19 transfer fee on gun sales go to fund enforcement efforts against illegal firearm purchasers through California’s Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS).

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.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law.

The Supreme Court's decisions come amid a national gun control debate now raging across the country following another deadly mass shooting. Seventeen people were killed and more than a dozen others injured last week at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

This report was updated at 10:43 a.m.