In a decision that set the gun world abuzz, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled on Thursday that California’s ‘may-issue’ concealed carry requirement was unconstitutional.
Specifically, the court found that San Diego County’s ‘good cause’ standard requiring law-abiding citizens to provide local law enforcement with a reason, i.e. that the applicant faces an imminent threat, to carry a firearm in public impermissibly infringes “on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”
Following the 2-1 decision, folks on both sides of the gun divide were eager to lend their input on what this latest ruling means for the future of gun rights and the Second Amendment.
“No one should have to wait until they are assaulted before they are allowed to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, in a Thursday press release.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has already affirmed our Constitutional right to Keep Arms, and today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the right to Bear Arms. Our fundamental, individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms is not limited to the home,” concluded Cox.
The NRA not only financially backed the case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, it also filed an amicus brief or friend of the court brief to help persuade the three-person panel to rule in favor of the plaintiff.
Meanwhile, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which recently merged with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, called the ruling an “aberration” in an email to Guns.com.
“This decision is an aberration from other CCW cases across the country — and from other Second Amendment decisions generally — and we are hopeful that it will be reconsidered by the full court,” wrote Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action.
Ladd Everitt from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence also weighed in, reminding Guns.com that “the city of San Diego still has the option to petition for an en banc review before the full court, so this panel’s judgment could very well be reversed.”
Indeed. Sand Diego County will most likely petition for the en banc review, sending the case before the full court, which means that the decision won’t be binding in the state until the entire bench has made the call.
Though, no matter what the 9th Circuit says, the decision is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court, something that’s happened to previous cases dealing with the same issue, mainly whether the Second Amendment covers self-defense outside the home and whether state’s have the right to put ‘may-issue’ restrictions on that right.
In terms of the overall Federal Appeals Circuit tally on the issue, “the 9th Circuit thus joins the 7th Circuit, and disagrees with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circuits,”as UCLA law professor and Second Amendment expert Eugene Volokh wrote in a Washington Post/Volokh Conspiracy blog post.
Guns.com asked Volokh (a) whether the 9th Circuit got it right, to which he said, “Yes — D.C. v. Heller, and the history that Heller cited, pointed strongly in this direction” and (b) whether this makes a Supreme Court ruling on the matter all the more inevitable?
“’Inevitable’ is too strong a word when we’re trying to predict what the Court will do; but, yes, I think this makes it likelier that the Court will consider the issue,” answered Volokh to the second question in an email.
For Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb the notion that the high court is one step closer to taking up a case dealing with this issue is great news, as his organization has one that is prime for the Supreme Court’s review: Drake v. Filko.
“This ruling should help get the Second Amendment Foundation’s cert petition in our New Jersey Drake case on the right to carry heard by the U.S. Supreme Court,” explained Gottlieb.
“I am very excited,” he added.
But on this point, Ladd Everitt said that gun owners should be careful what they wish for, highlighting Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in the landmark D.C. v. Heller case, which overturned the District’s ban on handguns:
“Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited,” wrote Scalia. “It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues.”
Do you think the ruling will hold water? What are your thoughts?