California has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country. Recently, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made those laws more strict.
The court declared that California counties have the right to deny applications for concealed carry permits if the applicant cannot show “good cause” for needing to carry a concealed firearm in public. The ruling gives each county the power to determine what good cause means.
A Significant Victory for Gun Control
In its ruling, the court stated that the Second Amendment does not protect the right of a gun owner to carry a concealed firearm in public. Judge William A. Fletcher, writing for a 7-4 majority, wrote, “The Second Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public. If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly.”
The court reasoned that because the Second Amendment does not protect the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry – including a requirement of good cause – is legally permissible.
Gun-control advocates are praising this ruling, in which the court overruled a 2014 decision that stated California could not outlaw both the open carrying of guns in public and carrying concealed weapons at the same time. In place of that decision, the court now says that California can restrict concealed carry permits if the person applying for the permit cannot point to a specific and compelling reason why he or she needs to carry a gun in public.
The court declined to rule on whether the state’s ban on openly carrying a weapon is constitutional, stating that the issue was not a part of the case.
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The Future of Concealed Gun Permits
Law enforcement officials believe this decision may cause a number of concealed carry permit applications to be withdrawn. Applicants will now have to state specific reasons for their needs. In this case, the court ruled against the challengers of the gun control law because they were not able to provide good cause, despite all of them having cleared background checks and demonstrating that they had been trained in gun safety.
Though anti-gun control advocates reportedly plan on challenging the ruling, there is no guarantee that the US Supreme Court will hear the case. The ruling brings the Ninth Circuit in line with other federal courts on this issue, which means the court will not have to resolve a disagreement between federal circuits. Additionally, the court is unlikely to take on a major case until the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia at his death is filled.
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This means that for the immediate future, individual counties in California have the right to decide whether an applicant for a concealed carry permit can be denied based on a failure to state a good reason why he or she needs to carry a gun in public.
What are your thoughts on this court ruling? Do you think that firearm laws should be determined by each individual county? Should you have to show “good cause” in order to be allowed to carry a gun in public?
Please share your thoughts on this court ruling in the comments section below.