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Concealed Carry is Not a Right: Peruta v San Diego

By now you have no doubt heard of the recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court that effectively says a citizen does not have the right to carry a concealed weapon outside the home. While there has been some confusion about the exact ramifications of this ruling (which incidentally reverses a previous decision by that very same court), there's no doubt it's an attack on the Second Amendment as we interpret it.

The thing to remember here is that we are dealing with people who are either unwilling or unable to look at the incontrovertible facts so many pro-gun, or at least gun-neutral, persons are able to recognize and deal with (though as to that, the anti-gun crowd do not hold the monopoly on intransigence and incorrigibility). As they see it, this ruling does not contradict the Second Amendment. They are not disputing your right to own a gun or to use it for defense of hearth and home. They're saying you do not have a constitutionally protected right to carry the weapon outside those walls, in public. Thus while at first glance it seems to be in direct contravention of such previous SCOTUS rulings as 2008's District of Columbia v. Heller (554 U.S. 570 and 2010's McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, it's not.

Peruta v San Diego - no right to conceal 9th Circuit says

Those cases argued the individual's right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. It might seem ridiculous to many (because, you know, it is) but they did not argue or rule regarding where.

The case in question is Edward Peruta v. County of San Diego (10-56971), and also Adam Richards v. County of Yolo. The latter case is included in the ruling as well, though it's receiving less attention. The district courts' judgements hold that there is “…no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public…Under California law, an applicant for a license must show, among other things, “good cause” to carry a concealed firearm. California law authorizes county sheriffs to establish and publish policies defining good cause. Appellants contend that San Diego and Yolo Counties’ published policies defining good cause violate their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”

That the case arises from San Diego is no great surprise. In a state full of strict gun control measures, the City and County of San Diego are among the worst. Not only to they have ordnances that make it unlawful to carry concealed, apparently (according to a statement by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims) they don't even allow their LEOs to do so.

Think about that for a minute — if true (I've been unable to get confirmation from the SDCO), not even the off duty cops can carry a gun. That's astonishingly moronic on several levels. It's probably also illegal. Public Law 108-277, previously referred to as HR218 (the “Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act) exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from local and State prohibitions on the carrying of concealed firearms. S. 1132, the “Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act Improvements Act” (which was actually signed into law as Public Law 111-272 by President Obama) made it easier for retired LEOs to comply with the first law.

I'm not an attorney, but it certainly seems like they're not just violating the basic tenets of the Second Amendment as it applies to every responsible and law abiding citizen, but 18 USC 926B and 18 USC 926C as well.


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The 9th Circuit's ruling is bad news directly for Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. It's not so great for the rest of us either, and while we can hope this decision will be reversed in a Supreme Court appeal, there's no guarantee of that. Keep in mind also this is an election year, with Justice Scalia's seat waiting to be filled. Sad as it is to say, there's no guarantee the judge that takes that chair will be a constitutionalist.

It will be interesting to see how things develop in the coming months and to watch the second- and third-order effects once we begin to feel them. Hopefully someone will fight the ruling sooner rather than later, but nothing will happen with any great speed. Remember, the Peruta case has been going for several years now.

That the pendulum usually — eventually — swings back is no real comfort.

You can read the 9th Court's ruling in its entirety right here.


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