Silvester et al v. Becerra (formerly v. Harris) is a California case that involves a challenge to the 10-day waiting period for those individuals in classes where a waiting or cooling off period makes no rational sense. It was a win at the US District Court level. However, the 9th Circuit bizarrely ruled – but I repeat myself – that even those who owned a firearm and who held a concealed carry permit from California needed that cooling off period.
The Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, Jeff Silvester, and Brandon Combs are the plaintiffs in this case. This past Friday, they have appealed to the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. Their petition can be found here.
More on the case in the Calguns Foundation’s release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 1, 2017) – Today, two individuals and two Second Amendment civil rights advocacy groups filed a petition for certiorari in the case of Silvester, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asking the United States Supreme Court to review and overturn a wrongly-decided Ninth Circuit decision about the State of California’s 10-day waiting period laws, noted The Calguns Foundation, one of the petitioners.
A copy of the petition to the Supreme Court and other relevant case documents can be viewed or downloaded at https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/silvester.
In 2014, Federal District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii—nominated to the bench by then-President Clinton—held that the waiting period laws were unconstitutional as applied to three categories of gun purchasers after undertaking significant discovery, depositions, and a three-day bench trial.
But in 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit bizarrely ruled that even a person legally carrying a concealed handgun as he buys another gun at retail, and who passes a further background check, needs to be “cooled off” for another 10 days before exercising his Second Amendment rights and taking possession of a constitutionally-protected firearm.
“I passed a rigorous state and federal background check and have a license to carry a handgun in public throughout the State of California,” explained individual plaintiff Jeffrey Silvester, an insurance broker in Hanford, California. “The DOJ knows that I am a law-abiding person, and I’m even in their Rap Back system. What possible reason does the State have in denying me my Second Amendment right to take possession of a firearm after I pass yet another background check?”
The petition, authored by Supreme Court and appellate attorney Erik. S. Jaffe of Washington, D.C., noted that it “is no secret that various lower courts, and the Ninth Circuit especially, are engaged in systematic resistance to” the Court’s landmark Heller and McDonald decisions. In doing so, the petitioners argue, the Ninth Circuit ignored important legal rules that govern how infringements on constitutional rights are to be scrutinized and that govern review of a trial court determinations of the facts in a case. Petitioners maintain that the Ninth Circuit’s decision represents one of the clearest example yet of open circumvention of Second Amendment rights, when even the results of a trial cannot survive the hostile appellate review often applied in Second Amendment cases.
The petition notes that the lax legal standard applied by the Ninth Circuit in this case conflicts with the more protective legal standard applied by the Supreme Court, “poses a threat not merely to Second Amendment rights, but to First and Fourteenth Amendment rights as well, and that review should be granted “to correct that conflict” and enforce the proper standard of constitutional scrutiny of laws that burden Second Amendment rights.
Brandon Combs, an individual plaintiff in the case as well as the executive director of organizational plaintiff The Calguns Foundation, believes that fundamental, individual Second Amendment rights are being treated like second-class rights.
“In its decision to ignore the trial court’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law as well as longstanding principles of appellate review,” said Combs, “the Ninth Circuit has made it crystal clear that it has no intention of following the Supreme Court’s precedents no matter how unconstitutional, arbitrary, or irrational the law. This case and the Ninth Circuit’s treatment of fundamental rights are beyond ripe for review.”
“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will use t
he extensive record here to further develop its Second Amendment precedent and place the right to keep and bear arms on an equal footing with First Amendment rights, such as freedom of speech.”
Silvester, Combs, and The Calguns Foundation are joined in the petition by Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, WA, which also partially funded the case.