As battle lines draw on efforts by the gun control lobby to challenge Peruta v San Diego, a federal court found in favor of a similar shall lawsuit against Yolo County Wednesday.
The case at hand, Richards v. Prieto, challenged Yolo County, California Sheriff Ed Prieto’s policies on granting concealed carry handgun permits. Brought by the Calguns foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation, a federal judge Wednesday found the policy unconstitutional.
“Today’s ruling reinforces the Second Amendment’s application to state and local governments, and will help clear the way for more California citizens to exercise their right to bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb in a statement.
“California officials have been put on notice that they can no longer treat the Second Amendment as a heavily-regulated government privilege,” Gottlieb continued.
The case, represented by attorneys Don Kilmer and Alan Gura, the latter famous for his work on the 2008 Heller case, questioned the restrictive may issue practices of the Yolo County Sheriff in refusing permits to Adam Richards and Brett Stewart. Richards was heard by a panel of three circuit court judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit.
“In light of our disposition of the same issue in Peruta v. County of San Diego, we conclude that the district court in this case erred in denying Richard’s motion for summary judgment because the Yolo County policy impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense,” wrote the court.
Judge Sidney R. Thomas, a Clinton-era appointment who had originally found against Peruta on the three member panel last month, this time conditionally concurred with the other two judges on the case. Thomas wrote that he would have voted to uphold the current “good cause” requirement, but agreed with the majority in this case because Peruta is now controlling.
The Peruta case caused something of a domino effect in California with first Orange County, then San Diego and Ventura beginning to accept permit applications using ‘self-defense’ to satisfy ‘good cause’ for a permit. Even in counties whose sheriffs have been notoriously anti-ccw, such as in San Joaquin County, local chief law enforcement officers are being more user friendly towards those applying for permits.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors are moving forward with adding extra manpower to the Sheriff’s rolls to help process the growing number of permit applications filed under the revised standards. That county currently has nearly 1,000 applications submitted in the past two weeks, double the amount tendered in all of 2013.
Meanwhile the Peruta decision itself, which in Richards v. Prieto is already setting legal precedent, is being contested by California State Attorney General Kamala Harris. Gun control groups are joining the AG in pressing for an appeal in the Peruta case, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Peace Officers Association and the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.
“This will fundamentally change public life in California, where dining in restaurants, riding on a train, or standing in a checkout line next to someone carrying a loaded firearm is not customary,” said Catherine Stephani, California chapter leader for Moms Demand Action about the Peruta case. “Other states live this reality, but this has not been our way of life in California.”
Even though Richards was an unpublished decision closed by memo, and cannot be cited in other cases, it is something of a validation of Peruta that makes the odds that California could soon move to shall issue look good to many.
“We are confident that the win today will stand the test of time,” said Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman.