California Right To Carry Concealed Weapons

Peruta v. San Diego is a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit pertaining to the legality of San Diego County’s restrictive policy requiring that residents provide documentation of good cause that distinguishes the applicant from the mainstream and places the applicant in harm’s way before issuing a concealed carry permit. Under San Diego’s restrictive policy a “‘typical’ responsible, law-abiding citizen in San Diego County cannot bear arms in public for self-defense” because by San Diego’s definition a typical citizen fearing for his or her personal safety cannot ‘”distinguish [himself] from the mainstream’” and receive a concealed carry permit. (Peruta v San Diego (9th Cir, 02-13-14) p. 54.) And California does not allow the open carry of firearms whether loaded or unloaded. (Cal. Pen. Code §§ 25850, 26155.) Thus, the Court found San Diego County’s restrictive policy in combination with California’s denial of open carry ultimately resulted in the destruction of the typical law abiding responsible citizen’s right to bear arms in any manner in public thereby violating the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The decision is written by Diarmuid O’Scannlain, with Consuelo María Callahan joining and Sidney Runyan Thomas dissenting, and affirms the right of responsible, law-abiding citizens to carry a handgun in public for lawful self-defense. Unless overridden, this decision will force California to become a shall-issue state in regards to concealed carry. The primary Plaintiff, Mr. Edward Peruta’s attorneys were Paul Neuharth, Jr. from San Diego and Chuck Michel from Long Beach. [1][2]

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has issued a press release dated February 21, 2014 stating it will not seek review of the decision by the entire membership of judges sitting in the Ninth Circuit, and “Should the decision of the Ninth Circuit become final, the Sheriff’s Department will begin to issue CCW’s in situations where the applicant has met all other lawful qualifications and has requested a CCW for purposes of self-defense.” [3]

As a result of the court’s decision, the Orange County Sheriff has loosened requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Instead of requiring the applicant to have “good cause”, the applicant will only have to assert that they need a permit for self-defense or personal safety.[4]

On February 27, 2014 California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a petition for en-banc review of the decision. As the state was not a formal party of the case, her action is not an appeal, but merely a request that the full court re-hear the case en-banc on its own initiative. [5][6][7]

Richards v PrietoEdit
In addition to Peruta, the same judges heard another case Richards v Prieto at the same time which challenged the handgun carry license policy of Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto.[8][9] The case originally was entitled Sykes v McGinness and included the Sacremento Sherrif as a defendant. The Sacramento licensing was changed during the suit, and the complaint against McGuinness was dismissed.

After ruling on Peruta, the 9th circuit judges unanimously ruled in Richards

In light of our holding in [Peruta] we conclude that the district court in this case erred in ruing Richard’s motion for summary judgment because the Yolo County policy impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.

Baker v KealohaEdit
In addition to Peruta, the same judges heard another case Baker v Kealoha at the same time which challenged the handgun carry law of Hawaii

After ruling on Peruta, the 9th circuit judges in a 2-1 vote ruled in Baker

In light of our disposition of the same issue in [Peruta] we conclude that the district court made an error of law when it concluded the Hawaii statutes at issue did not implicate protected conduct.

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