Liberal Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Conceal Carry

By:  Bob Adelmann
Liberal Ninth Circuit Court Upholds Conceal Carry

The recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court is a small, successful skirmish upholding the Second Amendment in the long war against guns.

The decision rendered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals February 13 resulted in gasps of dismay from gun control advocates and cheers of delight from Second Amendment supporters. In writing for the 2-1 majority in the case of Peruta v. County of San Diego, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, in his 70-page opinion, said:

We are called upon to decide whether a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense….

Because the Second Amendment has always been an individual right to defend oneself ... states may not destroy the right to bear arms in public under the guise of regulating it.

At issue was the requirement, enforced by the San Diego County Sheriff William Gore, that an applicant for a concealed weapons permit must demonstrate “good moral character,” must complete a specified training course, and establish sufficiently “good cause” for the sheriff to issue the permit. The judge noted that the state law the sheriff was enforcing required him to evaluate “good cause” on a case-by-case basis looking particularly at “situations related to personal protection … [but concern for] one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.”

The requirements are onerous: An applicant has to provide documentation supporting and elaborating on their good cause, such as restraining orders, letters from law enforcement agencies and other sources proving that he had a sufficiently pressing need for self-protection, proving to the sheriff’s satisfaction that these are “circumstances that distinguish [him] from the mainstream,” according to the law. In other words, the sheriff was under no pressure or requirement to issue concealed carry permits, and so, except in rare circumstances, he didn’t.

This frustrated the plaintiffs in the case, Edward Peruta, Michelle Laxson, James Dodd, Leslie Bucher, and Mark Clearly, who were either denied concealed carry permits or simply decided not to apply in the first place, knowing that their applications most likely wouldn’t be approved. They were joined by the California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation (CRPAF) and the National Rifle Association (NRA), which helped fund the attorneys prosecuting the suit. The complaint was simple: Peruta was being denied his freedom guaranteed under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms for the purposes of self-defense because the “good cause” requirement kept him from doing so.

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