SAN FRANCISCO — People seeking permits to carry concealed weapons don’t have to prove “good cause” beyond truthfully saying they want to be able to defend themselves, a divided federal appeals court ruled Thursday.
The 2-1 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a San Diego case isn’t yet final — the county and its sheriff might appeal — but if it stands, “California will join the vast majority of other states that now issue permits to people for self-defense,” said Chuck Michel, attorney for the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
Jan Caldwell, spokesman for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, said Thursday her agency had not yet had a chance to fully review the ruling.
California generally prohibits people from carrying handguns in public openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded, but people can apply for permits from sheriffs or police chiefs to carry concealed, loaded weapons. By state law, requirements for such a permit include demonstrating “good moral character,” taking a training course and establishing “good cause.”
…A federal district judge had ruled that’s OK in order to protect public safety, but the 9th Circuit reversed that ruling, finding the county’s policy “impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”
“Any other county or city… that adopts a similar ‘special need’ policy, which is most notably going to be Los Angeles and San Francisco, that policy is unconstitutional,” Michel said Thursday. “If people make a legitimate and truthful assertion that they want a permit for self-defense, they have to get one if they meet the other requirements.”
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