By Doug Porter
A federal appeals court has struck down rules permitting counties in California to impose restrictions on carrying concealed weapons in public. The 2-1 decision by U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel is aimed at restrictions primarily imposed in the states’ urban regions including Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and San Francisco.
California’s rules will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, pending appeals, including a potential rehearing before a larger 9th Circuit panel. Many news accounts quoted lawyers saying the issue would eventually be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ruling is contrary to decisions in the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits in Drake v. Filko (New Jersey), Woollard v. Sheridan (Maryland) and Kachalsky v. Cacace (New York.)
This case will likely push the Supreme Court to weigh in to work out the various conflicts on the circuit level. The high court has not ruled on what restrictions on an individual’s right to bear arms are constitutional.
The original lawsuit targeted the San Diego sheriff, whose policy requiring specific reasons over and above the usual “for personal protection” in advance for issuing a concealed carry permit infuriated gun owners. For the time being 9th Circuit ruling affects only California and Hawaii, states whose legislation was based on a “may issue” versus a “shall issue” interpretation of prior high court rulings on permitting.