Federal court upholds California’s restrictions on concealed carry
June 10, 2016
A federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that California counties may impose restrictions on the issuance of concealed carry permits. The court ruling states that the 2nd Amendment does not include the right to concealed carry. [LA Times]
In California, applicants who wish to carry concealed handguns in public must show they have good cause before receiving permits. The law grants county authorities broad discretion when issuing concealed carry permits. Rural California counties often have relaxed rules, while most urban counties maintain strict rules.
In 2010 and 2011, gun owners sued San Diego and Yolo counties, as well as their sheriffs, over concealed carry permit requirements. In both counties, the sheriffs said concern for one’s perennial safety is not alone justification for receiving a concealed carry permit.
Trial courts sided with the counties in both cases, but a three-judge federal appeals panel reversed the rulings. In 2015, the court voted to consolidate the cases and have an 11-judge panel hear them. Eight of the 11 judges on the panel were appointed by Democratic presidents.
On Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 7-4 ruling stating California counties may restrict concealed carry permits. The ruling also affects nine other states that have similar rules.
Judge William A. Fletcher, a Clinton appointee, stated in the ruling, “the 2nd Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public.”
“The 2nd Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public,” Fletcher wrote. “If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly.”
Gun owners said they might appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. But, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to take gun control cases in recent years, and multiple federal appeals courts are now in agreement on the issue of restricting concealed carry.
However, gun owners do plan to mount a constitutional challenge of California’s open carry ban.
Thursday’s ruling “avoided answering the critical legal question of whether, if concealed carry is prohibited, some form of open carry of firearms must be allowed,” said Chuck Michel, the lawyer for the gun owners in the case. “California law bans open carry, so the constitutionality of that ban will now have to be tested.”