Sometimes the good guys win
February 26, 2014
OPINION By ROGER FREBERG
It’s been an interesting year and its only February.
A landmark legal case decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on the 13th of February will have profound effects on California, New York and possibly Iran. Before we can talk about this case, here is a little background.
When grandma packs we feel safer
Three years ago, almost to the day, I wrote an article that discussed, guns, self- defense and conceal and carry permits in California and around the country. State laws are not uniform. Vermont residents can go almost anywhere with a gun strapped to their side while in New York, a 64 ounce soda represents a clear and present danger. Check out this greatness in journalism.
What is a “conceal and carry?”
Carrying and concealing a weapon, in particular a handgun, is considered “normal” in the majority of states in our country provided you have the appropriate training and licensure. This is not a license to use your weapon, just to conceal and carry it. If you find yourself in a situation where you used your gun, you’d be arrested as the criminal you may be until the truth gets sorted out. Those who care about you will be relieved that you survived a life threatening ordeal. As the saying goes, “it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.”
As I mentioned in my previous article, you should never buy a gun or obtain conceal and carry licensure if you cannot visualize ever using your gun. Training and practice are necessary to increase your comfort and proficiency.
You might have missed the recent landmark decision in California regarding conceal and carry if you’ve been focused on the many challenges in our world: the violence in Syria and the Ukraine, Obamacare or the further alleged sexual adventures of a couple of our local supervisors , Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson, whom I am almost sure are not an item, but I try not to judge.
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Peruta, et al. v. San Diego County (February 13, 2014). The issue involved the existing conceal and carry permit process which made it virtually impossible to get a license. “Writing for the majority, Judge Diamuid O’Scannlain concluded that ‘San Diego’s good cause law permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense’” (Washington Times). The court said that San Diego’s requirement that an individual must prove a need to defend themselves before obtaining a permit was unconstitutional.
The ruling stated in part,”Thus, the question is not whether the California scheme (in light of San Diego County’s policy) allows some people to bear arms outside the home in some places at some times; instead, the question is whether it allows the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen to bear arms in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense. The answer to the latter question is a resounding ‘no.’”
Today in San Diego
So, you might ask, what is San Diego’s official response to all of this? On Feb. 21, the sheriff of San Diego published his decision and included a note to the county supervisors. The sheriff in his note stated that “the opinion provides clear guidance in the issuing of CCWs (Conceal and Carry License) in California.” However, he is buying time by saying that he isn’t going to switch to the new process until the court’s judgment becomes final. Not everyone is waiting. The sheriff of Orange County has already announced that she will comply with the ruling.
CCWs in San Luis Obispo County?
I had the opportunity to sit down with our Sheriff Ian Parkinson over coffee at the Nautical Bean, and he offered a candid appraisal of the CCW permit process, where he sees it going, and some of his concerns. Here are some summary points I made based on our conversation:
Ian is a supporter of the Second Amendment and has doubled the number of CCW permits issued during his watch compared to his predecessor. He has a dual concern: Citizens should have the rights given to them by the Second Amendment, but he is also working to keep everyone safe.
He believes that the job of law enforcement is to enforce the laws but not to write them. He will support the 9th Circuit Court’s decision when it becomes final.
Currently, the sheriff’s office processes a number of CCW requests that had previously been handled by some of our cities. When the court’s ruling is finalized, Ian plans to shift part or all of the process back to the cities. (I suspect it is a workload consideration.)
I asked Sheriff Parkinson if he had any concerns about the ruling. His concern seemed genuine when he said he worried about giving a license to someone who checks out fine, but who really isn’t.
Where do we go from here?
A couple of things we already know. First, the sheriff in San Diego has announced that he will not appeal the court’s decision. If you go to his department’s web site and check the news for Feb. 21, you can read all about it, plus his note to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Second, the Washington Times reported that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals believed their rulings would stand up to Supreme Court scrutiny, should anyone wish to take the decision in that direction.
It has been reported that the California Attorney General is not likely to cross the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling. One wonders if the California Legislature could pull itself together to adopt the CCW processes already in place in one of the other 34 states that have already addressed this issue. I suspect that some California legislators have placed themselves so far out of the mainstream on this issue, they’ll find it impossible to accept the opinions of a court of law. That’s what elections are for.
The Los Angeles Times suggested a novel solution–legalize “open carry.” This would allow citizens to wear their handguns openly as in the Old West. Although this sounds fun, the real benefit of conceal and carry to a community is that the bad guys don’t know who is armed and who is not. By the way, bad guys like to prey on places that are called “gun free zones.” Some recent examples include movie theaters (the bad guy passed a bunch of theaters in Colorado to find one with a gun-free sign), restaurants, colleges and schools.
I don’t know about you, but I am still uncomfortable about giving certain politicians the right to carry. I guess we have to take the good with the bad.
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