More Good News from the Courts: Ninth Circuit to Rehear Peruta

 

Today, the Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear Peruta v. San Diego, a dangerous decision that struck down San Diego County’s application of the state’s “good cause” requirement for concealed carry permits. This very encouraging news comes on the heels of a string of recent court victories for smart gun laws, including decisions on a large capacity magazine ban in Sunnyvale and California’s Unsafe Handgun Act.

Peruta is an especially high-profile case that has the potential to influence gun policy across the country. At issue is whether requiring permit applicants to demonstrate a specific need to carry a loaded, hidden weapon in public violates the Second Amendment. The two-judge majority in Peruta struck down that requirement, but the decision was contrary to the rulings of several other circuit courts nationwide and, if allowed to stand, would seriously jeopardize public safety in California.

The Law Center has been involved in Peruta from the start, filing several amicus briefs throughout the litigation, including one urging the Ninth Circuit to rehear the case, and we are very excited that the Ninth Circuit agreed—rightly—that a review of the decision was warranted.

Today’s news demonstrates yet again that the gun lobby is on the run when it comes to Second Amendment litigation. These victories combined with last year’s landmark background checks ballot initiative in Washington State and the slew of smart gun laws being introduced in state legislatures across the country shows that in spite of federal inaction, Americans are willing to fight for the sensible gun legislation that save lives.

Read our full summary of Peruta to learn more.

Law Center and Attorney General Harris Defend California Law in Pivotal Ninth Circuit Concealed Weapon Case

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A radical Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this month put one of California’s key laws in jeopardy. In that case, 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. Today, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a request that the Ninth Circuit reconsider the case in front of an en banc panel of judges.

The law at issue here allows law enforcement to issue a permit to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public if the applicant can demonstrate “good cause” for receiving a permit. This type of system is commonly called a “may issue” permitting system and is not uncommon in other states across the country. In Peruta v. County of San Diegotwo 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.

Given that this decision guts a critical piece of California law regarding guns in public, it is no surprise that the Attorney General has decided to get involved in the case and request an en banc rehearing. Today, the Law Center—which also filed an amicus brief in front of the original three judge panel—filed an amicus brief that supports the Attorney General’s request. Our brief argues that the Peruta decision is a dramatic departure from other courts’ analysis of this issue. 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 briefs filed by the Law Center, Attorney General Harris, and other organizations send a clear message to the Ninth Circuit to stop this radical decision by two judges which could overturn decades of California law that helps law enforcement prevent gun violence. 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.  Courts that have taken those considerations into account have all upheld these critical laws.

Read the full text of our amicus brief here. Continue reading

Extreme Ninth Circuit Concealed Weapon Decision Out Of Sync With Other Courts

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California has some of the strongest gun laws in the nation and these strong laws have had a significant role in keeping Californians safe. Over the past twenty years, California’s gun laws have contributed to a significant—56%—drop in California’s gun death rate. However, a radical Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision has put one of the state’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, only 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 California, counties can define “good cause” differently, and many require applicants to show that they are at a special risk of being targeted by criminals that is greater than the general population in order to demonstrate “good cause.” In this case, 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.

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. In yesterday’s decision, however, 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 other circuits’ decisions on this issue.

Continue reading

The Ninth Circuit takes on the Second Amendment

(Update: The Ninth Circuit has posted audio of the arguments in Peruta v. County of San Diego, Richards v. Prieto, and Baker v. Kealoha.)

This Thursday, December 6th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will consider an issue of critical importance to the safety of our communities: whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to carry a concealed, loaded handgun in public places.

Three cases being heard on Thursday morning involve challenges to state laws in California and Hawaii that require an applicant for a concealed carry license to show a legitimate need to carry a weapon.

We’ve been supporting defense counsel with our Second Amendment expertise because we know how important these cases are. Favorable decisions here could reaffirm law enforcement’s ability to protect public safety by limiting the number of people carrying hidden, loaded handguns in California and Hawaii.

The three cases being heard by the Ninth Circuit are Peruta v. County of San Diego (challenging San Diego County’s application of the California law), Richards v. Prieto (challenging Yolo County’s application of the same law), and Baker v. Kealoha (challenging Hawaii’s law).

For more about these cases, read our amicus briefs in Peruta and Richards. If you live in the Bay Area, oral arguments are open to the public, and the Ninth Circuit courthouse is located at 95 7th Street in San Francisco. On Friday, audio and video of the arguments will be available on the Ninth Circuit’s web site.

These cases will undoubtedly have nationwide significance in this emerging area of Second Amendment jurisprudence. The Second Circuit recently upheld New York’s discretionary concealed carry law in a great decision, and similar cases are also pending in the Third and Fourth Circuits.

Law Center Files Amicus Brief in Important Ninth Circuit Second Amendment Case

States that have strong laws regulating the carrying of concealed weapons currently face a number of significant lawsuits challenging these laws on Second Amendment grounds. On September 30, the Law Center urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject a Second Amendment challenge to California’s concealed carry law in an amicus brief in Richards v. PrietoRichards is the second of a number of similar challenges to laws nationwide to be reviewed by a federal appellate court, following Peruta v. County of San Diego.

The Law Center’s brief was joined by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. The brief urges the Ninth Circuit to find that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to possess a loaded, hidden handgun in public, and that the California law is vital to protect the safety of law enforcement and the general public. The Law Center is very grateful to Covington & Burling LLP for authoring the brief.

Law Center Files Amicus Brief in Critical Ninth Circuit Second Amendment Litigation

In states like California, where the gun lobby has failed to weaken concealed weapons licensing laws in the legislature, it now seeks to overturn those laws in the courts. The Law Center recently urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reject a Second Amendment challenge to California’s concealed carry law in an amicus brief filed on August 19 in Peruta v. County of San Diego. The Peruta case is the first of a number of similar challenges to laws nationwide to be reviewed by a federal appellate court.

Joined by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, the Law Center’s brief urges the Ninth Circuit to find that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to possess a loaded, hidden handgun in public, and that the California law is vital to protect the safety of law enforcement and the general public. The Law Center is very grateful to Covington & Burling LLP for authoring the brief.