Legal Issues

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

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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)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.”

  3. I think the ninth circuit ruling has little meaning in the long run.

    Further, the statute should have been struck as void for vagueness. Upon remand, expect a bullshit definition of “some form of carry” that will pass muster with this idiot court. Like maybe in a small safe attached to the hip, or with a trigger lock that can only be opened by the police….?

    I suggest moving to a state which believes in the Constitution. I’ll see you there.


  4. Solano County (NorCal) is the same way – self defense/preservation is not a “good cause”. I’ve seen crimes happen in nice neighborhoods here and no cops nearby, hmmm seems like a very good reason to be able to protect yourself. I don’t understand why states like CA make it so difficult for law abiding citizens to protect themselves…don’t they see the various reports and studies that show guns are not the cause for most deaths??? Or that guns are frequently used for self defense!!!

  5. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,
    the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

    These words were written shortly after the Revolutionary War. This is why there is a comma after the words “free state.” We must have a “well-regulated militia” to protect us from outside harm, BUT (the comma-that militia may become our enemy as did the British Army), “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” We must protect ourselves from that well-regulated militia.
    The Revolutionary War was fought by Patriots who came bearing their own arms straight from their homes to the battlefront. Which is why we must keep and cherish the Right to Bear Arms.

  6. Rights are not optional. Second amendment is very clear. Legislation against it should result in federal civil rights violations and the officials voting against it hung by a rope until dead!

  7. Do you think people are starting to learn that the only thing that will “stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”???

    In these times where response times are slow and crime running “fast and furious” self defense is self evident. The rich and well healed anti-gun politicians and stars have good guys with guns to protect themselves and their families. However, they want to take guns away from the “typical law-abiding citizen” and deny him/her the ability to protect him/herself and family. That is upper class elitist thinking.

    I would be nice if we had the safety and security that there once was in this country but that is not the case. Some of the problems with regards to safety lays with the politicians and the courts not using common sense and making bad decisions. Or maybe politically correct decisions is the better term. We need to be able to take care of ourselves and our families. Let’s kept the 2nd Amendment strong.

  8. Roger, you are absolutely correct. It is about time that people quit rolling over and going with what the few want to say to rule the many. I believe that many states are going to go that route and allow responsible individuals the right to protect themselves by changing their carry laws.

  9. Read the Federalist Papers and the Constitution. The Federalist Papers (85 letters) were written by Founding Fathers to explain in more detail what the words in the Constitution means.

    2 Amendment “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

    “I ask Sir what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them.” George Mason 1788 Speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

    “Unlike Europe, Americans have the advantage of being Armed, which forms a barrier against an ambitious govt”. Madison 1788 Federalist Paper #46.9

    “To preserve liberty it is essential that the people always possess arms and taught when young as 2 how to use them.” Richard Henry Lee 1788

    “The people are not to be disarmed of their weapons. They are to be left in full possession of them.” Zachariah Johnson

    “The great object is that every man be armed.” and “Everyone who is able may have a gun.” Patrick Henry, American Patriot

    “… the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms” Philadelphia Federal Gazette 1789

    “Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement are the birthright of an American”. Coxe 1788

    “We shouldn’t forget the spark that ignited the Amer Revolutn was caused by the British attempt to take the colonist firearms” Patrick Henry

    “Are we brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense?” Patrick Henry- Patriot

    “The constitution asserts that all power is inherent in the people; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed” Thomas Jefferson

    “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” Alexander Hamilton

    “If representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no resource left but the right of self-defense” Hamilton 1787 Federalist Paper #28.6

  10. I think All who follow the laws and have no records of any type should be able to carry for there own protection. The way things are today some place’s it’s not a good idea to walk alone with protection.

  11. I wouldn’t start telling people to go out and start carrying concealed just yet. This case only address the language of San Diego’s “Good Cause” not whether a person can carry concealed without a permit issues by the state and/or local law enforcement agency;“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.”

    As we all know, the Courts decisions and/or opinions does not infringe on a states ability to be equal or more strict than the presiding law. If this ever gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, that is when I’ll Cheer… Until then, it’s just another decision which another District Court may shut down in arguments.

  12. California, what an F***ed up State! The ninth circuit ruled “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”

    Are you kidding me! The Second Amendment does not endow rights. We have natural, fundamental rights to protect ourselves. The Second Amendment restricts government both State and Federal from passing gun laws that infringe upon our natural, fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

    If the State tells us we need a permit to carry in any manner we choose, then carrying in any manner must not be a right it has to be a privilege. And we know it is not a privilege because it is a right. So, why do we even believe their crap, and why does the State waste tax dollars passing stupid laws and then having courts waste time and money hearing these cases?

    The law breakers in these gun cases are the legislatures, courts, judges, police, and attorneys by violating the Second Amendment. As long as you are not a known violent criminal or insane, you have the right to carry without a permit.

    If you consent to their BS or contract with the psychopaths to take your rights, then by all means become a slave and demand that they regulate you.

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