On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme declined a challenge to a California law that requires a 10-day waiting period before purchasing a firearm. The law is intended to curb impulse purchases of guns by those who might be suicidal or violent, and legal experts see the court’s decision as a setback for gun rights activists, especially in light of the recent shootings in Parkland, Florida.
While the court signalled that it did not want to take an active role in the national debate on guns, the decision not to hear the case was not unanimous. Conservative stalwart Clarence Thomas not only strongly dissented against the court’s decision, he also stated that he believed that his colleagues on the court were being contemptuous of gun rights.
In a separate ruling, which will likely also roil gun activists, the court refused to take up a challenge filed by the National Rifleman’s Association (NRA) against the state of California. The NRA wanted the state to reduce fees on gun purchases that were being used by the state to track illegally owned guns.
In regards to the waiting period law, both individual gun owners and gun rights activists challenged the law, saying that it violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Though they did not seek to completely invalidate the law. They just wanted it to exclude those who already passed a background check and already owned guns.
Thomas, in his dissent, said that if a lower court had treated a different constitutionally guaranteed right in a similar manner, the Supreme Court would have surely got involved. He went on to say that the Second Amendment is not well favored by this particular court.
The Supreme Court has not taken up a major gun case in many years. Their last major rulings came in 2008 and 2010, when they unequivocally ruled that the Second Amendment guaranteed individuals the right to bear arms for the purposes of self defense.