Bittersweet Victory For Concealed Carry In California

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An attempt by San Diego County to pick and choose which of its residents are allowed to hold a concealed carry permit was refuted Thursday by an appeals court, which ruled that the county’s take on a Statewide “good cause” rule infringed on citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit invalidated several California counties’ concealed carry restrictions with Thursday’s 2-1 ruling, which San Diego can still appeal. The court found San Diego infringes on residents’ Constitutional rights by requiring they demonstrate a superabundance of “good cause” – typically in the form of documented proof that their personal safety has been threatened – before they can be issued a concealed carry permit.

As the Contra Costa Times explained, the ruling “means that one day all law-abiding Californians with the right training and a desire for self-defense could have the right to carry concealed handguns.”

State gun laws – among the Nation’s most restrictive – already requires applicants to show “good cause,” but San Diego’s interpretation of that term was challenged by several residents, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association:

The county’s policy requires “a set of circumstances that distinguish the applicant from the mainstream and causes him or her to be placed in harm’s way.” But concern for “one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause,” San Diego’s policy says. Applicants have had to provide documentation — such as restraining orders, letters from law enforcement or prosecutors — to prove a special need for self-protection.

A federal district judge had ruled that’s OK in order to protect public safety, but the 9th Circuit reversed that ruling Thursday, finding the county’s policy “impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.”

That last sentence stings: “Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.” Nowhere is self defense enumerated in the Bill of Rights as a qualifier to the right to bear arms. Courts in progressive political climates continue to refine the intent of the 2nd Amendment to death with ephemeral commentary like this, muddying the clear language of the Constitution itself in the minds of people who’ve never bothered to read it.

But for Californians, there’s no question Thursday’s ruling amounts to a fundamental win. They just need several dozen more.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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