A federal appeals court in California has ruled that Americans don’t have an automatic right to carry concealed weapons in public under the Second Amendment. The ruling upholds a law requiring people to have “good cause” to be granted a concealed carry permit. This is sad news for people who badly want to take their guns to Chipotle with minimal paperwork.
An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the “good cause” requirement is legal, which states that applicants for concealed carry permits have to prove they have a specific, justified cause. In some counties, conceale carry applicants also must have “good moral character” and pass a required training and background check. The ruling was 7-4; writing for the majority, Judge William A. Fletcher wrote, “We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
The original lawsuit was filed by a group of people who’d been denied concealed carry permits, and was backed by several gun rights groups. In his ruling, Judge Fletcher noted that the Second Amendment might protect open carry, which the plaintiffs weren’t suing about:
The Second Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public. If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly. But Plaintiffs do not challenge California’s restrictions on open carry; they challenge only restrictions on concealed carry.
Fletcher said that state lawmakers are free to enact “any prohibition or restriction a state may choose” on concealed weapons.
Given that the ruling was handed down by a court in San Francisco, of all places, and given that it affirms even the lightest restriction on gun ownership, prepare for a full-scale freakout any second now.
Read the full ruling here.
This post has been corrected and updated to more clearly explain California’s “good cause” laws.
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