Are California’s concealed carry requirements too strict?
June 16, 2015
A federal appeals court in San Francisco is hearing arguments Tuesday on whether California’s restrictions on concealed carry permits can stand the test of the Second Amendment. [Wall Street Journal]
In California, applicants who wish to carry concealed handguns in public must show they have good cause before receiving permits. California is one of several states that grant local authorities the power to use broad discretion when denying concealed carry permits.
Plaintiffs sued San Diego and Yolo counties, as well s their sheriffs, in 2010 and 2011 respectively over concealed carry permit requirements. In both counties, the sheriffs said concern for one’s personal safety is not alone justification for receiving a concealed-carry permit
The plaintiffs in each case argued that the “good cause” requirement places too large of a burden on one’s right to self defense.
Trial courts sided with the counties in both cases, but a three-judge federal appeals panel reversed the rulings. Early this year, the court voted to consolidate the cases and have an 11-judge panel hear them.
Tuesday’s hearing will take place before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Eight of the 11 judges on the panel were appointed by Democratic presidents.
Alan Gura, an attorney representing the Yolo County plaintiffs says the case is about the Second Amendment.
“The Second Amendment confers a fundamental right,” Gura said. “We don’t live in a country where the police decide whether we have a good enough reason to exercise that right.”
Adam Skaggs, senior counsel with Everytown for Gun Safety, which filed a court brief in support of California’s law, said the state’s concealed carry requirements allow local officials to confront gun violence.
“These are local officials on the front lines of efforts to confront gun violence who know best how to keep communities safe,” Skaggs said. “The decision California has made to vest discretion and authority with these officials in light of that makes a lot of sense.”