The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a lawsuit involving how concealed weapons permits are issued in California and the rules making it difficult for residents to obtain a permit. The court ruling was a split decision of 2 to 1 in which the three judge panel determined that California counties requirements for citizens to show more than simple self defense as a reason for a law abiding resident to obtain a concealed weapons permit was in violation of their 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms.
Siding with the state of California concealed handgun permits is The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. who is hoping for the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to be overturned. According to the Brady Center’s spokesman Jonathan Lowy, they filed a brief as a “friend of the court” in this lawsuit. This brief was submitted to the court requesting that it uphold the current policy that is in force in the state of California currently. Lowy stated that the there was no history or precedent to support the decision that will put the public at risk with people having the right to carry concealed weapons in public places, when law enforcement officials have decided against issuing a permit, because the applicant did not show good reason or was not qualified to obtain the permit.
Prior to this ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California residents were prohibited from carrying a weapon without obtaining a concealed weapons permit, which is not uncommon regulations in states. The reason that the California regulations were determined a violation of individuals Second Amendment Rights was due to the rules used by law enforcement officials that required proving there was a reason to obtain the permit that was for reasons beside just the common reasons of self defense. Along with this were other requirements of showing good moral character, having “good cause” to request the permit and taking a training course. In the state of California the sheriff’s departments and police chiefs in most cases required the applicants for concealed weapons to show there was a real danger for their application or other reason.
This the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this was against the applicants Second Amendment Rights, requiring the applicant to show more than self defense as a reason to obtain a concealed weapons permit. Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote that the right to bear and carry a firearm by lawful purposes of self defense was a citizen’s rights and that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department wanting applicants to show special causes such as a restraining order to receive a concealed weapons permit infringes on their Second Amendment right to bear arms in self defense.
The judge stated that according to a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 5 to 1, the requirements were too strict and in disagreement with that decision. The 2008 case involved a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. that denied residents from being allowed to own weapons for self defense and to possess a gun in their home. This ruling by the 9th Circuit of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and ordered the judge to rule in favor of the applicants. This could result in the case being requested to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, because of the conflicting rulings, according to attorney Chuck Michel, who represents the San Diego County residents who filed lawsuit to change the California concealed weapons permit policy the way it was being enforced in their county. This decision on Thursday was in conflict with three other federal appeal court rulings in which similar regulations have been upheld in California for concealed weapons permits.
Michel filed the lawsuit on behalf of the San Diego County residents in 2009 and was pleased with the ruling by the court. The lawyer said he will not be surprised if the U.S. Supreme Court does hear the case with conflicting rulings and other lawsuits that were similar filed in other locations in the country.
In another ruling, Judge Sidney Thomas wrote that people carrying concealed handguns in public, who are required to show “good cause” will limit the number of permits of individuals that can legally carry a firearm in public. This would still allow people with just cause to legally carry a handgun that may be necessary for self defense. The judge then wrote that reducing the number of concealed weapons would reduce the risk to the public.
Sheriff Bill Gore and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department have several options they could choose from after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision. The department rejected making any comments other than to state the are consulting with their attorneys. The sheriff and sheriffs department could request the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals seat an 11 special of judges to rehear the case. The department may decide to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and rule on it or they could stand by this ruling and change department policy. San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Bill Gore made no comment on the case and if it will be ongoing or if they will change the requirements.
Court of Appeals Opinion on Conceal Carry – Peruta: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/02/12/1056971.pdf