More reason to never move to California. Such a shame.
In a decision that will keep thousands of guns off California streets, a federal appeals court Thursday upheld the restrictions sheriffs across the state use to limit the right to carry concealed handguns.
As a result of the 7-4 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the sheriffs will still be able to deny concealed weapons permits to applicants who can’t prove a specific threat to their safety.
Gun rights groups blasted the judicial panel’s ruling that found no Second Amendment right to carry a concealed firearm in public — and pledged to fight on in the courts as well as at the ballot box.
“We are going to fight this fight for a long time,” said Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California. “This proves once again that we have to be vigilant and active in defense of our constitutional rights that are under siege in the Legislature, by the initiative process and now by the courts.”
Thursday’s decision vacates a 2014 appeals court ruling in San Diego County in which gun rights advocates successfully challenged the sheriff’s strict guidelines for issuing concealed weapon permits.
That ruling, which never took effect, would have bolstered the ranks of concealed weapon carriers in most Bay Area counties, where sheriffs have long been hesitant to issue permits for people to carry guns in public unless they can show that their lives are in danger.
“This win marks yet another remarkable legal victory for effective gun laws and the people of California who have had enough of the carnage wrought by the guns in the hands of dangerous people,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center, which had unsuccessfully tried to intervene in the case.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, whose office argued the case, said Thursday the ruling “ensures that local law enforcement leaders have the tools they need to protect public safety by determining who can carry loaded, concealed weapons in our communities.”
The ruling comes at a time when gun control advocates nationwide are pressing ahead for new restrictions and opponents are fighting back, hoping to use the issue to galvanize Republicans in this fall’s elections.
Last month, California lawmakers began taking up a raft of gun measures — although no gun legislation has yet to clear both the Assembly and Senate. A November ballot initiative spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tackles many of the same issues.
At the heart of the battle over concealed weapon permits is a state law requiring applicants to show “good moral character,” take a training course and establish “good cause.”
In San Diego County, the sheriff defined “good cause” as “a set of circumstances that distinguish the applicant from the mainstream and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way.”
Several county residents and the California Rifle and Pistol Association, a group affiliated with the powerful National Rifle Association, said that was too restrictive. And the Ninth Circuit panel sided with them on a 2-1 vote.
But a majority of the Ninth Circuit’s 29 full-time judges voted to rehear the case with an 11-judge panel, along with a similar case out of Yolo County.