Despite earlier Supreme Court rulings, the battle over the Second Amendment is far from over. In California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that concealed carry is not a constitutional right. In and of itself, this is just one battle out of many, but following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, this means a less friendly SCOTUS will decide the fate of concealed carry throughout the nation. Equally worrisome is that they refuse to hear it, or split 4/4 and this lower court ruling stands.
Summary of the ruling from FirearmsPolicy.org:
The en banc court affirmed the district courts’ judgments and held that there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.
Appellants, who live in San Diego and Yolo Counties, sought to carry concealed firearms in public for self-defense, but alleged they were denied licenses to do so because they did not satisfy the good cause requirements in their counties. 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.
The en banc court held that the history relevant to both the Second Amendment and its incorporation by the Fourteenth Amendment lead to the same conclusion: The right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the Second Amendment. Therefore, because the Second Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of “good cause,” however defined — is necessarily allowed by the Amendment.
The en banc court stated that there may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public, but the Supreme Court has not answered that question.
The en banc court granted the motion to intervene by the State of California, which sought intervention after the San Diego Sheriff declined to petition for rehearing en banc following the panel’s decision. The en banc court held that under the circumstances presented here, California’s motion to intervene was timely.
More at the link.
For champions of concealed carry, this could be a considerable blow. Especially since a divided Court would essentially uphold the ruling, allowing anti-gun states like California, New York, and New Jersey to continue to deny law-abiding citizens the means to protect themselves from predators that prowl this nation.
However, it’s also important to not become too pessimistic.
Should the decision be effectively upheld in any way, the status quo will be maintained. Currently, concealed carry laws have been enacted at the state level, and nothing in such a ruling would upset that. Additionally, it would also do nothing to prevent currently anti-gun states from later passing concealed carry reform that would open it up for more than the protected class currently allowed to carry firearms under these states draconian legislation.
Would it be a blow? Absolutely.
Would it be the end of the world for concealed carry? Not necessarily.
It would just increase the grade of the already uphill slope activists have to traverse in those states.
Of course, they also shouldn’t have to deal with this. The “right to keep and bear arms,” it says. It doesn’t say you should have to show a good cause to carry them.