A federal appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that Americans have no Second Amendment right to carry concealed guns in public. The 7-4 ruling by the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a California law requiring residents to show “good cause” for carrying a concealed handgun.
What is especially galling about this decision was that the original Peruta case in 2014 found just the opposite. A three-judge panel of the court held that the Second Amendment “does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked that the Ninth Circuit rehear the case with a full panel of judges participating, leading to Thursday’s 7-4 outcome.
Edward Peruta of San Diego County was denied a concealed-carry permit in 2009 for failing to show good cause to have a license.
“Good cause,” as the county defined the term, was a “a set of circumstances that distinguish the applicant from the mainstream and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way.”
The Ninth Circuit ruling covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Other regional appeals courts that have upheld good-cause requirements include the Second (Connecticut, New York, and Vermont), Third (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) and Fourth (Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia) circuits.
Effectively, that means 20 of the 50 states can decide what is good enough cause to allow for self-defense in their jurisdictions. Decisions in other appellate circuits are pending.
Peruta was brought on behalf of the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff William D. Gore. In February 2014, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit hearing Peruta resulted in a monumental ruling that held that the San Diego County sheriff’s policy of refusing to issue licenses to carry firearms in public — unless an applicant could demonstrate a special need — was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.
After Sheriff Gore decided not to appeal the case further, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and several anti-gun groups filed requests to join the litigation and continue litigating the appeal as parties to the case. The three-judge panel denied each of the intervention requests. In December 2014, AG Harris and the anti-gun-rights groups filed requests for en banc review of the decision to deny them entry into the case.
Click here to read more background on the case.