California Appeals Court Ruling: Americans Have No Constitutional Right to Carry

Gun rights were dealt a severe blow yesterday in California, when a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that people do not have a Second Amendment right to carry a concealed firearm in public.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals issued the 7-4 ruling, upholding the state law requiring applicants to show “good cause,” such as a direct threat, to carry a firearm for self-defense.

The judges also dismissed the argument that the "right to keep and bear arms" apparently doesn't mean carrying a firearm, according to this story from Fox News.

"We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public," said Judge William Fletcher in the majority opinion.

The ruling is almost certain to be challenged by Second-Amendment advocates, which could set up a Supreme Court battle.

“Critics have long charged that the 9th Circuit has a history of liberal-leaning decisions. Thursday’s ruling overturns a 2014 ruling by a smaller panel, and resulted from a case in which a sheriff in San Diego County required applicants to show supporting documents, such as restraining orders against attackers, in order to get a permit.”

“Celebrities who fear for their safety and those who routinely carry large amounts of cash were often given permits.”

In the dissenting opinion, Judge Consuelo M. Callahan said the restrictions are an infringement of the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.

“In the context of present-day California law, the Defendant counties’ limited licensing of the right to carry concealed firearms is tantamount to a total ban on the right of an ordinary citizen to carry a firearm in public for self-defense,” Callahan wrote. “Because the majority eviscerates the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms as defined by Heller and reaffirmed in McDonald, I respectfully dissent.”

C.D. "Chuck" Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, had some stronger words in a statement, according to Fox News.

“Once again the 9th Circuit showed how out of touch it is with mainstream Americans,” he wrote. “This decision will leave good people defenseless, as it completely ignores the fact that law-abiding Californians who reside in counties with hostile sheriffs will now have no means to carry a firearm outside the home for personal protection.”

California Solicitor General Edward DuMont argued that there is “long and rich tradition of restricting concealed weapons in cities and towns” and that loosening concealed weapons permitting standards, and allowing more people to carry, would threaten law enforcement and endanger the public.

However, Paul Clement, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said there is no evidence that crime went up in counties such as Fresno and Sacramento that had more permissive "good cause" standards, the story says.

Law enforcement groups themselves have come out against additional gun control measures. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association recently said that Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's legislation that would require background checks for all ammo purchases, among other restrictions, would actually reduce public safety.