9th Circuit Rules No Constitutional Right to Carry a Concealed Firearm


9th Circuit Rules No Constitutional Right to Carry a Concealed Firearm

Jun 16 2016, by Jessica McElfresh in Legal Blog, Weapons Crimes

California Penal Code 25400 PC prohibits carrying a concealed firearm on your person, within your car, or a car in which you are the passenger. The only way to legally carry a weapon outside of your home is to have a concealed weapon license or permit under California Penal Code section 26150 PC. In order to apply for a concealed carry permit in California, applicants must show good cause. Additionally, applicants must also pass a background check, complete safety training, and have good moral character in order to obtain a permit.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Peruta v. County of San Diego that the Second Amendment right to bear arms does not include the right to carry concealed handguns. In the 7-4 decision, the court upheld California’s concealed licensing statute and reversed a 2013 decision by a three judge panel of the 9th circuit. At issue in the case was the constitutionality of the good cause requirement under California’s concealed carry licensing statute, which gives authority to county sheriffs to establish and publish policies defining good cause.

A Violation of Second Amendment Rights?

Two gun owners in San Diego and Yolo counties filed suit when their permit applications were denied claiming that the good cause interpretation violated their Second Amendment rights. The sheriffs in San Diego and Yolo counties require a specific reason why the applicant needs to carry a concealed firearm. For example, in the Yolo County Concealed Weapon License Policy, an example of a valid reason to request a permit includes applicants who have been victims of violent crime or experienced documented threats of violence. However, self protection without credible threats of violence is listed as an invalid reason to request a permit. In other words, applicants must show that they are at greater risk of harm than the general population in order to show good cause for a concealed carry permit.

The Peruta majority reviewed Supreme Court precedent and surveyed an exhaustive history of sources on the right to bear arms to reach the conclusion that the Second Amendment does not include the right to carry concealed firearms. In doing so, the majority pointed out that it has been legal for states to prohibit or restrict concealed carry since 1849. Four justices dissented from the majority opinion believing that the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller protects the right to carry concealed firearms under the Second Amendment. The Peruta court did not consider whether the Second Amendment would protect the right to open carry in public. The 9th Circuit and 10Th Circuit Court of Appeals reached the same holding on this issue, but the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the matter. The last major Supreme Court ruling on gun rights was McDonald v. Chicago in 2010.

How a Skilled San Diego Gun Attorney Can Help

If you have been charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit or license, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Depending on your criminal history and the circumstances of your case, you could face either a misdemeanor or felony charge for carrying a concealed weapon. Your lawyer will need to evaluate the evidence collected against you and determine possible defenses based on the specific facts of your case. San Diego gun attorney Jessica McElfresh has experience defending individuals against concealed carry charges and a proven track record of obtaining beneficial case results on behalf of her clients. Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.