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Concealed Carry Laws Continue to Divide the Nation After Court Ruling

Jul 08 2016, by Jessica McElfresh in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog, Media Coverage, Weapons Crimes

In a considerable victory for gun control advocates, a recent 7-4 ruling by California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the Second Amendment does not include the right to carry a concealed handgun in public, thereby allowing state restrictions such as California’s requirement to show good cause before a concealed carry permit is issued. However, the Ninth Circuit did not comment on the issue of whether the Second Amendment protects the right to openly carry a gun in public, which according to the court was not an issue of this particular case.

The case involved challenges to San Diego and Yolo county policies, which requires gun owners to demonstrate a special need in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. This ruling upheld California’s current concealed carry law, where county sheriffs are given the authority to define good cause.

The decision was widely criticized by gun rights groups who have suggested that they might appeal the ruling. The backlash to the Ninth Circuit decision only adds to the divisive politics currently surrounding the national debate over gun control reform. It is unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in given that the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals have reached similar rulings on the issue.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), an estimated 12.8 million Americans currently hold concealed carry permits. In all likelihood, this number is much greater given that data is not available or outdated for some states. The number of concealed carry permits has increased 178 percent since 2007 and there was a 15.4 percent rise in permits in the last year alone. Despite the rapid growth in concealed carry permits, polls have indicated that a majority of Americans do not support laws allowing guns in public spaces such as college campuses, bars, restaurants, hospitals, and government buildings.

Concealed Carry Laws in the United States

The first state to pass a modern concealed carry law was Georgia in 1976. While states have historically prohibited or severely restricted concealed carry, gun rights groups have been successful in pushing for more relaxed legislation in recent years. In fact, the majority of concealed carry laws have been passed in the last 15 years. Today, all 50 states permit concealed carry in some form though the rules differ greatly from state to state.

Concealed carry laws generally fall into one of three categories; unrestricted, meaning that no permit is required, shall-issue, and may issue. May issue states require a permit and give local authorities a good deal of discretion in deciding whether to issue a permit, which is usually guided by various statutory factors. Shall issue states require that a permit is issued once an applicant has fulfilled an objective set of criteria.

California, along with ten other states–Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Rhode Island– requires gun owners to show good cause in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. The majority of other states do not require gun owners to show a special need in order to obtain a concealed carry permit. Vermont is the only state that allows concealed carry without a permit.

How San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys from McElfresh Law Can Help

If you have been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, you could be facing either a misdemeanor or felony charge. Given the possibility of jail time and significant fines, you should seek the help of an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At McElfresh Law, we understand how to build a defense against concealed carry charges and we have a successful track of obtaining beneficial case results for our clients.

Call McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107for a free and confidential consultation of your case.