Richards v. Prieto Amicus Brief

Posted on September 30, 2011

Case Information: Richards v. Prieto, No. 11-16255 (9th Cir., filed Sept. 30, 2011)

At Issue:  Challenging California’s concealed carry law.  This lawsuit, like Peruta v. County of San Diego, also challenges California’s policy of allowing local law enforcement discretion in issuing concealed handgun licenses.  In this case, against Yolo County, California, the appellants argue that California’s concealed handgun license law violates the Second Amendment.

Law Center’s Brief:  Our brief argues that because California’s concealed carry law does not burden the Second Amendment, it is subject to, and clearly satisfies, rational basis review.  Alternatively, if the court finds that the law substantially burdens the Second Amendment, intermediate scrutiny is the proper basis for review, and the statute easily satisfies that test as well.  The brief was joined by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

The court found that the District of Columbia v. Heller decision does not invalidate California’s concealed carry “good cause” policy because the Second Amendment does not create a fundamental right to carry a concealed weapon in public.  Because the policy does not “substantially burden” a constitutionally-protected right, the court applied rational basis review and found that the state law provision bears a reasonable relationship to a legitimate governmental interest to regulate concealed firearms.  Furthermore, the court refused to invalidate the policy as facially unconstitutional because plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that there are no circumstances under which a permit may be issued to someone who demonstrates good cause and good moral character.