Court denies California challenge to end concealed weapons restrictions

Court denies California challenge to end concealed weapons restrictions
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that California cannot challenge a previous decision that overruled the state’s restrictions on concealed weapons and declared them unconstitutional.

The 2-1 decision by the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California Attorney General Kamala Harris and other groups could not legally involve themselves in a case regarding the state’s ability to keep residents from obtaining a concealed carry permit. Such a permit would allow gun owners to carry a hidden, loaded weapon in public.

Back in February, the same court ruled 2-1 that while the state is allowed to implement rules regarding the way concealed carry permits are authorized, those rules must allow law-abiding citizens to carry weapons in public if they are meant for self-defense. Otherwise, the state would be violating the Second Amendment, which allows citizens to bear arms.

READ MORE:Rush for gun permits following overturn of California firearms law

“We are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the state to permit concealed carry,” Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain wrote for the panel at the time.“But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Harris attempted to intervene in the case after San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore – who was sued over the issue in the original case – declined to appeal the ruling. The state can still appeal the decision. It can also ask an 11-member panel of the appeals court to reconsider its ability to get involved.

AFP Photo / Scott Olson

For his part, Gore seemed to suggest it is not his place to appeal the court’s decision.

“Since becoming Sheriff, I have always maintained that it is the legislature’s responsibility to make the laws, and the judiciary’s responsibility to interpret them and their constitutionality,” Gore wrote in a letter to the county board of supervisors earlier this year, according to Fox News. “Law enforcement’s role is to uphold and enforce the law.”

If the ruling is eventually upheld, it would be a significant victory for gun rights advocates in a state where concealed carry regulations are some of the strongest in the US. It could also lead to a surge in the number of people carrying concealed weapons. Experts project that nearly two million people in California could take advantage of the relaxed rules, Bloomberg reported. In a state of 38 million people, that would be five percent of the population.

In the wake of the February decision, the number of applications for permits spiked considerably. Orange County officials said the number of applicants had doubled, while counties like Ventura and San Diego also reported increases.

Even if the ruling makes it to the Supreme Court, gun rights supporters do not seem too worried, believing there are enough justices to take their side on the issue.