Bradley Benbrook, who practices in Sacramento, argued for the plaintiffs and contended that if the state's automated firearms system shows that a firearm purchaser already has a firearm and passes a background check, "delay for delay's sake is not a reasonable fit."
"It's a simple theory and simple works in this case," Benbrook said.
Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas asked Benbrook whether a background check would be sufficient to vet second-time purchasers if there were new information to indicate that they should not be allowed to buy another firearm.
"For subsequent purchasers, we're saying apply the full monty," Benbrook replied, adding that his clients have "no quarrel" with the 10-day waiting period for first-time purchasers.
Circuit Judge Jacqueline Nguyen asked why the plaintiffs take issue with the treatment of all gun seekers as first-time purchasers, especially given "the deficiencies in the system."
Benbrook conceded that the state's system is not perfect but added that "perfection is not the standard in any constitutional litigation."
This led Nguyen to counter, "But the state is saying this is a reasonable way to plug those holes," and Benbrook answered that even the law assumes the system is accurate.
"The entire regulatory regime is constructed on the idea that the information in the system is accurate," Benbrook said. "What's the point of having these systems if you say that for some purchases we trust them and for some purchases we don't?"
Thomas asked Benbrook to "spell out" how he would view his requested injunction playing out in practice if implemented. He pointed out that the primary burden on the plaintiffs, as argued, seemed to be the requirement of a second visit to the gun store.
"But that would be true under the injunction, wouldn't it?" Thomas said.
Benbrook argued that the substantial burden is the wait itself, since "the delay of taking possession is a burden on the exercise of the right." He added that it would be "substantially overbroad" to apply the waiting period to people who, for example, walk into the store with a gun already in their pocket.
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