At the beginning of 2012, a new law took effect which repealed what is known as “open carry” rights in California. Due to Penal Code 26350, it became illegal to carry in public a firearm (with a number of exceptions), whether or not the gun was loaded or being carried out in the open.
To break this law could result in up to a year in jail and fine of $1,000.
By the looks of things, that will be changing. Ed Peruta, an independent journalist, along with other gun advocates, have won a lawsuit which basically disputed the reasons necessary for being issued a permit for carrying a concealed firearm.
These permits are one of the exemptions which would allow someone to carry a gun. Previously, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore and his department were particularly liberal with their interpretation of a state requirement that candidates applying for this permit must show “good cause”.
They held that this requirement is only met if an individual is facing a specific threat such as being stalked or transporting large sums of money regularly. The lawsuit held that self-defense is sufficient cause.
Apparently the 9th Circuit panel agreed, ruling that self-defense is in fact sufficient cause for being issued a permit. And since making this ruling back in February, the number of applicants for a concealed-carry license has neared 1,600.
Gore decided not to fight the decision, with the announcement bringing forward other concerned groups such as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence as well as state Attorney General Kamala Harris. They wanted in on the fight, asking that a larger panel to reconsider the decision.
This month, the court denied this request, though not unanimously. One of the three judges residing on the panel dissented, stating he believed the state should be allowed to intervene and “present an argument to us on an important constitutional question affecting millions of citizens.”
Neither Harris nor the Brady Center or not without possible recourse. They could ask for a larger panel to review the decision this month barring them from intervention.
Jonathan Lowry, director of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project, said “we think San Diego and any other city has the right to reasonably restrict the carrying of loaded, hidden handguns in public…we are confident that position will ultimately prevail.”
The decision is relevant statewide, with the Orange County Sheriff’s department already beginning to issue new permits (nearing 1,900 thus far). The San Diego Sheriff’s department is taking more caution, waiting to fulfill the backlog of applications until the federal court’s decision is official and no appeals are to come forward.
John Rosenbaum is a Laguna Hills attorney who, for over 30 years, has succeeded in 99.8% of his cases in Workers Compensation and Personal Injury. If you’re in need of an extraordinary attorney in the Orange County area, give us a call or send us a message.