Prior to February 2014, California gun laws prevented law-abiding citizens from obtaining a concealed carry permit unless they were able to present documented justification for the permit. In February, a federal appeals court voted 2 to 1 to overturn the state’s requirement that applicants cite specific reasons detailing why they need a concealed carry permit.
Federal Appeals Court Will Not Revisit Relaxed Standard
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, law enforcement associations in the state and a gun control group attempted to intervene in the February decision. However, the Ninth Circuit Court said the new relaxed standard may not be challenged, and denied the attempt in a 2 to 1 ruling. Harris, the gun control group, and the law enforcement associations tried to take action after San Diego Sheriff William Gore declined to appeal the February decision.
According to the L.A. Times, the panel majority said the groups waited too long before getting involved.1 However, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence director of legal action Jonathan Lowy told the Times that he believes the court “misinterpreted the law” when it decided it would not allow its ruling to be challenged. The dissenting vote in the Ninth Circuit came from Judge Sidney R. Thomas, who said that because the court’s decision affected the whole state, the state has a right to challenge the decision and defend state policy.
What Happens Next?
Ninth Circuit Court spokesperson David Madden told the Times that the state may be able to appeal the ruling. If the majority of the panel decides that the decision should be reconsidered by the larger panel, the state will be able to move forward. Harris has not yet announced her intentions regarding the larger panel, though the entire bench of the 9th Circuit Court could decide to revisit the issue in a similar Yolo County Case.
Gun advocates feel that if the issue were to reach the Supreme Court, the elements of the case may persuade the High Court to strike the more restrictive concealed carry permit requirements across the country. If Harris appeals the Ninth Circuit decision, the case would be brought before the Supreme Court.
Concealed Weapons Permits Double in OC under New Ruling
Since the ruling in February, the number of people in Orange County who applied for and received concealed weapon permits under the new relaxed standard has nearly doubled, and several thousand more applications are pending. The Los Angeles Times reports that by August, the sheriff had granted over 700 permits to individuals who were able to simply state they wanted the weapon for personal protection.2
Though the court’s ruling applied only to San Diego, other California counties decided to follow the ruling. In fact, at that time, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens was one of only a few sheriffs in the state to issue permits under the relaxed standard before a final decision was issued.
What Do You Think about the Relaxed Concealed Carry Standards?
Do you agree with the court’s ruling? Should gun permits require the applicant to provide valid reasons for purchasing a gun? Please continue the conversation in the comments below.