Earlier today, the Ninth Circuit released its decision in Peruta v. San Diego, affirming the right of California citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection outside of the home.
Historically, California has been what is commonly referred to as a “may issue” state, in that citizens had to show “good cause” in order to be issued a concealed carry permit. The problem with this system is of course that most citizens couldn’t show “good cause” in the eyes of the court. The decision today will hopefully pave the way for California to join the ranks of “shall issue” states.
California law has a process for applying for a permit to carry a handgun for protection in public, with requirements for safety training, a background check, and so on. These requirements were not challenged. The statute also requires that the applicant have “good cause,” which was interpreted by San Diego County to mean that the applicant is faced with current specific threats. (Not all California counties have this narrow interpretation.) The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion written by Judge O’Scannlain, ruled that Peruta was entitled to Summary Judgement, because the “good cause” provision violates the Second Amendment.
The Court ruled that a government may specify what mode of carrying to allow (open or concealed), but a government may not make it impossible for the vast majority of Californians to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.