On Wednesday, the Firearms Policy Coalition announced victory in their lawsuit against California Attorney General Rob Bonta, the CA DOJ, and their Bureau of Firearms for the delaying of firearms transactions past the statutory 10-day period without a legal basis.
In 2020, as a result of an increase in the demand for weapons, California’s DOJ declared that the existing statute allowing them ten days to complete background checks for gun purchases, transfers, and loans gave them 30 days to do so. According to the DOJ’s website,
“If the Department is unable to verify a buyer’s eligibility within ten days, it will notify the firearms dealer and delay the transfer of a gun to that customer. Many county courthouses are already operating on shorter work weeks and with less personnel, delaying the approval or rejection of applications. If your record is out-of-state or military, you may expect a longer response time from our office in order to obtain the information. If the Dept. has not determined a buyer’s eligibility to own/possess firearms or whether the gun sold/transferred is stolen within 30 days of the transaction date, it will notify the dealer.”
In order to postpone a transfer beyond the ten-day waiting period, the DOJ must show one of three specified conditions under California Law. Disclaim: I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice. However, I am informed and have done you the favor of reading through the legalese on your behalf: CA Penal Code Section 28220 (f) (1) (A), as well as Section 27535.
The Department of Justice was sued by the FPC in Campos v. Bonta after delaying the waiting period for firearms without any of these legal grounds. In his decision, San Diego Superior Court Judge John S. Meyer wrote:
“The text of the law, when carefully read, shows that the Legislature added the three circumstances in which the Department may postpone releasing guns when background checks are not completed. According to respondents, therefore, these defined circumstances do not demonstrate the Legislature intended to provide the Department authority to postpone the release for any reason that background checks are not completed. The Legislature might have created a wider permission for a 30-day wait whenever the DOJ required more time if it wanted to. It did not.”