On March 26, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that Peruta v. San Diego will be re-heard by an eleven-judge “en banc” panel. The Court also ordered that the related case of Richards v. Prieto, which was decided under the reasoning outlined in Peruta, will be heard along with the Peruta case. This includes setting aside the original rulings in the cases and stating that they are not to be used as case law. See our previous coverage of Peruta here and here for more background.
About the rehearing, Edward Peruta told the Shooter’s Log, “This is what I want to say to the people of California and Hawaii and everyone else who lives in the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit: Quote, if this were the morning of Monday, December 8, 1941, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Unquote.” He explained that on December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, everyone on the West Coast of the United States was looking for Japanese destroyers and aircraft, and that everyone wanted to be armed.
Peruta was brought on behalf of the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff William D. Gore. In February 2014, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit hearing Peruta resulted in a monumental ruling that held that the San Diego County sheriff’s policy of refusing to issue licenses to carry firearms in public — unless an applicant could demonstrate a special need — was an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment.
After Sheriff Gore decided not to appeal the case further, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and several anti-gun groups filed requests to join the litigation and continue litigating the appeal as parties to the case. The three-judge panel denied each of the intervention requests. In December 2014, AG Harris and the anti-gun-rights groups filed requests for en banc review of the decision to deny them entry into the case.
Also in December 2014, at least one Ninth Circuit judge made a sua sponte (or on the Court’s own accord) request for all Ninth Circuit judges to vote on whether the Peruta case itself should be reheard en banc, regardless of whether AG Harris would be allowed to join the case.
The Court issued an order confirming that a majority of Ninth Circuit judges voted to rehear Peruta. The Court has set oral arguments for June 15, 2015. The Court also ordered that the related case of Richards v. Prieto, which was decided under the reasoning outlined in Peruta, will be heard along with the Peruta case on June 15.
No matter what happens as a result of the rehearing, either side will almost certainly petition a loss to the U.S. Supreme Court.