BELLEVUE, WA – Attorneys representing the Second Amendment Foundation and fellow plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the California Department of Justice (DOJ) for arbitrarily delaying the state waiting period beyond 10 days during the COVID crisis have filed a respondent’s brief in the case, which is known as Campos v. Bonta.
The complaint was originally filed in August 2020. Joining SAF in the case are the California Gun Rights Foundation, San Diego Gun Owners PAC, Firearms Policy Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, Poway Weapons & Gear, Five Five Six, Inc., and three private citizens. They are represented by attorneys Bradley A. Benbrook and Stephen M. Duvernay, Benbrook Law Group in Sacramento.
The case centers around DOJ’s assertion during the COVID panic that it had the authority to extend the 10-day waiting period beyond what is allowed in state statute. In early April 2020, DOJ released a statement claiming that the statute gave it general authority to expand the statutory 10-day waiting period for all firearm transactions, up to 30 days. Citing reduced staffing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DOJ “advised that background checks may no longer be performed during the initial 10-day waiting period.” DOJ allegedly delayed more than 220,000 transactions beyond the 10-day waiting period due to claimed administrative burden caused by pandemic staffing shortages.
“Essentially,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “DOJ conducted background checks when it got around to it, but the superior court ruled the agency did not have the authority it claimed under state law. Now the state is arguing on appeal the issue is moot because the pandemic is over, but that’s not the point. The case is still very much alive and important because DOJ cannot escape accountability for having violated state law.
“DOJ has argued the pandemic allowed it to suspend the requirements of state law, which was and remains a flawed argument,” added SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut. “If the agency is allowed by the court to get away with this, DOJ will only be emboldened to use the next emergency to do the same thing. That cannot be allowed.”