Case Information: Flanagan v. Becerra, No. 18-55717 (9th Cir. amicus brief filed Nov. 27, 2018).
At Issue: In 2016, an 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit appeals court ruled in Peruta v. County of San Diego that the Second Amendment does not protect a right to carry concealed guns in public, since historical evidence shows that governments have long exercised broad authority to regulate or prohibit concealed-carry. Following this decision, which the US Supreme Court declined to review, the National Rifle Association and individual plaintiffs filed a new challenge to the laws restricting California residents from carrying visible, loaded firearms in public. In Flanagan v. Becerra, the NRA now argues that if California allows local law enforcement to restrict concealed-carry, it must allow unrestricted “open-carry” of guns, even in populated areas. The district court rejected this dangerous position and upheld California’s open-carry regulations, and the plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief in Flanagan argues that California’s public-carry laws are constitutional under the applicable standard of review because substantial evidence shows that the state’s laws reasonably further critical public safety goals. Social science evidence and empirical studies confirm that lax public-carry laws increase the risk of gun violence. In addition, without reasonable open-carry restrictions like California’s, even well-intentioned gun carriers can throw the public and law enforcement officers into a state of potentially deadly confusion.