California ‘may-issue’ challenge appealed to Supreme Court

The legal case of a San Diego man who first filed for a concealed carry permit in 2009 and has been wrapped up in litigation since then is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the National Rifle Association on Thursday filed a 302-page petition to the nation’s high court on behalf of Edward Peruta, who applied for a concealed carry permit in San Diego and was refused because he could not show “good cause” as to why he felt the need to carry a gun.

Rejected at first by a U.S. District Court, Peruta’s case drew national attention in 2014 when a split three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that self-defense was a good enough reason for granting a permit, stating that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to carry a gun in public.

As San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, the defendant in the challenge, declined to appeal and other cases met with similar results, it appeared that California’s strict “may-issue” policy of granting permits to carry was on the ropes.

However, as gun control groups and state Attorney General Kamala Harris mounted challenges to the ruling, the 9th Circuit voted in 2015 to set aside and rehear the case in front of a rarely granted 11-judge en banc panel. Last June, that panel sided 7-4 with the earlier District Court ruling and set aside the 2014 gun rights victory holding that the right of a member of the public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment.

With an open seat on the Supreme Court due to the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia, and a full court hearing by the 9th Circuit refused, Peruta’s legal team was granted extensions to file from Justice Kennedy, set to expire Thursday.

Now on its way to Washington, the odds of being heard by the court are slim.

Although the Supreme Court receives thousands of petitions each year, the number granted is few, typically 100 or less. Granting a petition requires the votes of four Justices, something the court has declined to do in several recent gun rights cases sent up from the Circuits even when Scalia was on the bench.