Ninth Circuit Strikes California’s ‘Good Cause’ Carry Restriction

By Woody published on in News

California-based Michel & Associates represented the plaintiffs (gun owners) in the Peruta matter. Click here to see the history of the litigation.

California-based Michel & Associates represented the plaintiffs (gun owners) in the Peruta matter. Click here to see the history of the litigation on the firm’s website.

A surprising ruling out of the California-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Second Amendment endows the right to carry a gun outside the home.

The Ninth Circuit’s three-judge panel in Peruta v. San Diego affirms the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection in public. San Diego County had denied lead plaintiff Edward Peruta and others a license to carry concealed, which, according to state law, requires residents to show “good cause” for carrying—personal safety alone does not qualify as good cause in California.

Did California’s “good cause” clause infringe on the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms? The 2-1 opinion, written by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, ruled that Peruta is entitled to summary judgment because the “good cause” provision violates the Second Amendment.

On page 53 of the decision, the court said, “ … [thus] the question is not whether the California scheme (in light of San Diego County’s policy) allows some people to bear arms outside the home in some places at some times; instead, the question is whether it allows the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen to bear arms in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense. The answer to the latter question is a resounding ‘no.’ …

“In California, the only way that the typical responsible, law-abiding citizen can carry a weapon in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense is with a concealed-carry permit. And, in San Diego County, that option has been taken off the table. The San Diego County policy specifies that concern for ‘one’s personal safety alone’ does not satisfy the ‘good cause’ requirement for issuance of a permit. Instead, an applicant must demonstrate that he suffers a unique risk of harm.”

And: “To be clear, we are not holding that the Second Amendment requires the states to permit concealed carry. But the Second Amendment does require that the states permit some form of carry for self-defense outside the home.”

San Diego County may petition for en banc review, which means the entire Ninth Circuit bench might rehear the case. For now, the decision rests with the district court, which may retry the case under the appellate court’s directions.

On the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog at the Washington Post, attorney and Second Amendment expert David Kopel wrote of the case, “Today’s decision creates a split of the Seventh and Ninth Circuits vs. the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. The Peruta Court says that Circuits 2-4 erred by relying on cases which are, pursuant to Heller, incorrect, because those cases say that the only purpose of the Second Amendment is for the militia; Heller teaches that the Second Amendment right includes personal self-defense, and need not be connected to militia service.”

What do you think about the Ninth Circuit’s action? Tell us in the comment section.

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Comments (14)

  • stevo


    It starts with the language “one of those” and ends with “viable targets”. Now i’d say that’s extreme and conjures up visions of the term “loose cannon”. And I generally steer clear of loose cannons and nonsensical extremists.

    Aside from the heated vitriol, I like reading the different points of view. A couple of points i’d make about picking up and moving because of some ill-conceived ideas of legislative, freak out gun control in California.

    1) It’s incomprehensible to think about quitting a good job, uprooting your life, selling all your belongings, property, and severing family ties to move to a “gun friendly” state. I’d love to do that because sometimes I believe CA doesn’t deserve my hard earned tax dollars. But when you reach a certain stage in life, that’s almost impossible to do. So alternatively…
    2) Those that can’t just pick up and move stay and fight with whatever means necessary to get a law or ordinance changed. CA is a beautiful state aside from being expensive and draconian towards its taxpayers in many cases. Study the case brought against the City and County of San Francisco (Jackson V CCSF). Complaint was brought in 2009 and the police code was partially amended to reflect the filing. City stepped over the line with a freak out gun control ordinance. A group of law abiding citizens were able to bring forth this complaint and particular section of the police code regarding keeping and using firearms in self-defense was changed. Good for them, and good for law abiding gun owners everywhere.


  • Grif


    Just remember, the socialist politicians in office don’t want to take your guns so you can’t defend against crooks, they want to take them so you can’t defend against THEM. Every mass genocide and dictatorship is started by a government restricting or eliminating the ability of the common man to defend himself or herself, don’t believe me? Ask the Jews, ask the Ugandans, ask the Kurds, the Japanese back in the Samurai days when common men were not allowed to carry weapons), etc, etc. To end it, I will simply restate “It’s better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.”


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