Ninth Circuit in San Francisco Overrules California’s Concealed Weapons Restrictions

Posted by Seth Chazin | Feb 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

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A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down California's concealed weapon restrictions, stating some of these rules violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms. By a 2-1 vote, the court said that California was wrong for requiring applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain speaking on behalf of the majority declared, “The right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense.” Judge Sidney Thomas dissented, saying that the good cause requirement reduced the number of people carrying concealed handguns in public to those who really need it. It limits the risk to the public by limiting the number of guns being carried around in public, thus there was a rationale basis for the restrictions. Judge Thomas said, "Courts and state legislatures have long recognized the danger to public safety of allowing unregulated, concealed weapons to be carried in public."

In order to be granted a permit to carry a concealed weapon under the law in question, each of the 58 counties in California must follow state rules requiring applicants to show that they possess a good moral character and that there is good cause to issue a permit. The Appeals Court in San Francisco said that these requirements were too harsh and neglected the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2008( District of Columbia vs. Heller that struck down a Washington, D.C., ban on handguns and held that law-abiding citizens are allowed to have handguns for the purpose of self-defense under the Second Amendment to the United States constitution.

California has had some of the nation's most stringent restrictions on gun ownership and is one of only eight states that allow local governments to deny a concealed weapons permit. It is absolutely essential that we impose greater restrictions, and uphold those restrictions in our courts as having a rationale relationship to a valid state interest in protecting the safety of all of its citizens. The right to bear arms should not be unrestricted. We have seen countless examples of unnecessary killings of many of our citizens, even children (remember Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut?), as a result of the ready access to firearms. Our courts need to recognize this and uphold reasonable restrictions such as those addressed by the court in Peruta vs. County of San Diego .

The San Diego county counsel who defended the permit system is going to ask the full appeals court for a rehearing, known as an en banc review. The ruling is stayed while the request is pending.

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About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 25 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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Seth P. Chazin is a San Francisco Bay Area Criminal Defense Lawyer with over 30 years experience.

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