The California Calguns Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit against the state’s Department of Justice as well as Attorney General Kamala Harris for implementing a policy forcing gun owners to wait 10 days before they can take possession of additional firearms.
The case is entitled Jeff Silvester et. al. vs. Kamala Harris, et. al and was filed in the District of California Federal District Court in Fresno.
The Calguns Foundation signed on to the lawsuit with the Second Amendment Foundation and three individual plaintiffs.
“The State has absolutely no reason to infringe the rights of California gun owners who already possess firearms when they buy another one,” said Jason Davis who is the attorney for the plaintiffs. "California currently requires the registration of handguns in California. And, beginning January 2014, it will also require the registration of all newly-purchased rifles and shotguns. Notably, California keeps a current database of all residents who are prohibited by state or federal law from owning or possessing firearms."
The plaintiffs, Jeff Silvester, Michael Poeschl, and Brandon Combs have firearms registered with the State of California. Combs and Silvester also have firearms licenses issued by the state that constitute continuous background checks. The plaintiffs argue that their law abiding background coupled with extensive background checks should remove them from the “cooling off” period.
“In just about every other state in the U.S., I as a law-abiding gun owner, could walk in and after passing an instant national background check, walk out with a firearm to defend myself in my home,” said Poeschl. “What’s really frustrating is that California is one of the few states that force gun owners to register all handguns that they buy. If the state’s database saying that I already lawfully own a gun isn’t proof that I don’t need a ‘cooling-off’ period, then what is?”
Currently, if Californians want to legally conceal carry a firearm they have to pass more stringent background checks. In most counties, residents have to provide detailed reasons in order to carry a weapon. Acceptable reasons include carrying large amounts of cash to banks or other businesses, bodily threats, or a member of the court system.
“I have a license to carry a loaded firearm across the state,” Silvester said. “It is ridiculous that I have to wait another 10 days to pick up a new firearm when I’m standing there in the gun store lawfully carrying one the whole time.”
The “cooling off” period also affects gun collectors.
“As a collector, I submitted to a Live Scan background check and obtained a Certificate of Eligibility to Possess Firearms from the State of California at my own expense,” said Brandon Combs. “In the Internet era, where every California gun dealer has a computer connected directly to the State’s databases, there is no logical reason to force me to wait 10 days and make another trip simply because California doesn’t want to acknowledge the Certificate that it issued to me. I have registered guns, and I have the State telling me that I can possess guns, but for some reason I can’t exercise my constitutionally protected rights for another ten days? That’s insane.”
Currently California enforces some of the nation’s toughest gun laws and has banned numerous weapons that can be purchased legally in other states.
"This lawsuit seeks to prevent the infringement of gun owners' rights and requests the 10 day ban on possessing firearms purchased not be applied to current gun owners who pass instant background checks," Davis concluded.
A copy of the complaint and case filings can be downloaded at http://calgunsfoundation.org/resources/downloads/category/20-silvester-v-harris.html
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