Federal Court Deals Gun-Grabbers a Blow in San Diego Concealed Carry Ruling

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Federal Court Deals Gun-Grabbers a Blow in San Diego Concealed Carry Ruling


Byline: David Sherfinski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In a major victory for gun rights activists, a federal appeals panel in California has rejected a law in San Diego County that requires applicants for concealed-carry permits to demonstrate "good cause" as to why they need a gun for personal safety.

A three-judge panel on Thursday rejected a district court's ruling in favor of the county after plaintiffs appealed. The plaintiffs argued that "by defining 'good cause' in San Diego County's permitting scheme to exclude a general desire to carry for self-defense, the county impermissibly burdens their Second Amendment right to bear arms."

The district court erred "because San Diego County's 'good cause' permitting requirement impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense," wrote Circuit Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs who were denied concealed-carry licenses because they could not establish "good cause," as well as plaintiffs who anticipated they would be denied. The California Rifle and Pistol Association was an additional plaintiff in the case, and no plaintiff is otherwise banned from possessing a gun.

The case was appealed from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Other circuit courts of appeals have been divided on the issue of carrying a handgun outside the home. The 7th Circuit ruled against a concealed-carry law passed in Illinois, while the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th circuit courts upheld regulations approved in the states of New York, New Jersey and Maryland, respectively.

The 77-page majority opinion drew upon rulings on handgun bans in the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago, particularly the landmark 2008 District v. Heller ruling that struck down D.C.'s longtime ban on handguns.

Judge O'Scannlain wrote that neither case speaks "explicitly or precisely" to the scope of the Second Amendment right outside the home or what it takes to "infringe" it.

"Speakers of the English language will all agree: 'Bearing a weapon inside the home' does not exhaust this definition of 'carry,'" he wrote. "For one thing, the very risk occasioning such carriage, 'confrontation,' is 'not limited to the home. …

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