Media Contact:
 Julie Henson, (415) 433-2062 x304, [email protected]

SAN FRANCISCO—A radical Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision has put one of California’s key laws in jeopardy. Yesterday, two conservative judges issued a decision that could potentially undermine a decades old law allowing law enforcement to have discretion over who is allowed to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public.

This law, like laws in several other states across the country, allows law enforcement to issue a permit to carry a concealed loaded gun in public if the applicant can demonstrate “good cause” for the issuance of a permit—commonly called a “may issue” permitting system. In Peruta v. County of San Diego, the plaintiffs claim that the Second Amendment requires counties to issue permits to anyone who applies who claims a general need for self-defense, regardless of whether they have a special risk.

In yesterday’s decision, two judges on a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit decided that California’s good cause requirement must be interpreted to allow anyone who claims a general desire for personal self-defense in public to be issued a permit, contrary to three other circuits’ decisions on this issue.

Cody Jacobs, a staff attorney with the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued this statement:

Peruta v. County of San Diego is a radical decision that will hopefully go on to be heard by an en banc panel of Ninth Circuit judges. This unprecedented ruling starkly departs from other courts’ interpretations of the Second Amendment by failing to consider the public safety benefits of granting law enforcement discretion in deciding who should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon and by failing to recognize the well-established history of regulating guns in public.   

The good news is that the fight over who can carry concealed weapons in California is still in motion. We hope that the Ninth Circuit will ultimately overturn this aberrant ruling and instead side with the three other appellate courts that have recognized that strong concealed carry laws do not violate the Second Amendment.

Since the controversial 2008 Supreme Court decision District of Columbia v. Heller, the gun lobby has flooded the courts with similar claims, which have nearly all been rejected. In fact, cases challenging similar “may issue” systems in New York, Maryland, and New Jersey have been rejected by three different federal appellate courts.

The Law Center tracks and analyzes Second Amendment litigation across the country and has found that, in the last six years, over 90% of the challenges to our nation’s gun laws have been rejected, leaving almost all state gun laws intact across the country.

For more on why this decision is out of sync with current law, read our analysis of this case:

Media Contact:
Julie Henson
(415) 433-2062 x304
[email protected]

About the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is the only national law center focused on providing comprehensive legal expertise in support of gun violence prevention. Founded by lawyers after an assault weapon massacre at a San Francisco law firm in 1993, we remain dedicated to preventing the loss of lives caused by gun violence by providing trusted, in-depth research and information on the Second Amendment and America’s gun laws.