In a move that’s ruffled feathers in the gun-rights community, U.S. District Judge John L. Kane, who was appointed during the Carter era, upheld Colorado’s contentious three-day waiting period for gun sales last Monday. The Judge denied a request by gun rights advocates to have Colorado’s three-day waiting period law for gun sales enjoined.
The ruling, a setback for gun rights advocates, has sparked heated debate across the state and beyond. The judge’s decision hinges on a nuanced interpretation of the Second Amendment, challenging long-held views about gun ownership and acquisition rights.
Judge Kane’s ruling in RMGO v. Polis. draws a crooked line, declaring that the right to keep and bear arms, as enshrined in the Second Amendment, does not extend to the right to acquire guns through commercial sales.
This interpretation, grounded in the language of the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court’s analysis in Heller, argues that the waiting period required by the Act falls outside the scope of the Amendment. However, this perspective has not sat well with gun-rights supporters, who view it as a narrowing of their constitutional liberties.
The implications of this ruling are far-reaching. Coloradans keen on purchasing firearms continue to face inevitable delays in the process, regardless of their ability to pass an immediate background check. Moreover, this legal stance could open doors to further restrictions on gun sales, a possibility that has gun rights groups on high alert.
In response to the ruling, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a plaintiff in the case, described the decision as a “bump in the road,” urging their supporters not to lose faith. Taylor Rhodes, the executive director of RMGO, announced plans to appeal the decision to a Tenth Circuit panel, a forum where they’ve previously found success. This determination to fight bad case law showcases the resilience and resolve that gun rights advocates need in the face of legal decisions.
— Taylor D. Rhodes (@TDRColorado) November 13, 2023
Judge Kane, in his analysis, referenced the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, reasoning that the right to keep and bear arms is a guarantee of the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This interpretation distinctly separates the acquisition of a weapon from the right to possess and carry one. The judge argues that the act of obtaining a firearm, especially without delay, is not covered under the Second Amendment, a stance that is contentious among gun-rights circles.
Furthermore, Judge Kane suggested that even if commercial firearms sales were implicated by the Second Amendment, a waiting period for gun sales could still be justified within the historical tradition of gun laws in the country. He drew parallels between colonial-era laws preventing intoxicated individuals from possessing weapons and modern waiting periods aimed at preventing impulsive acts of firearm violence. While convincing to some, this historical comparison remains a point of contention for others who see it as an overstretch.
The recent ruling by Judge Kane in RMGO v. Polis has stirred a hornet’s nest among gun-rights advocates in Colorado and beyond. The decision and the judge’s views raise crucial questions about the scope of the Second Amendment and the future of gun sales regulations. As the debate continues, one thing remains clear: the battle over gun rights and regulations in Colorado is far from over.