9TH Circuit: No Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon

A 2014 ruling that prompted some counties to relax rules on concealed weapons was overturned Thursday in a landmark decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In its 7 to 4 decision, the court ruled that restrictions on concealed carry such as those implemented in San Diego County are constitutional and that the Second Amendment does not afford the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.

Thursday’s decision reverses a 2 to 1 ruling two years ago which said governments do not have the right to require residents to demonstrate special needs for protection in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit. In the case of San Diego County, applicants had to prove good cause for obtaining a permit, such as being the target of a stalker or serving in a dangerous line of work. The court said these requirements were too restrictive.

Thursday’s ruling has sent shockwaves throughout the gun rights community and underscored California’s expanding role in the gun control debate. It also highlights the significance of the 2016 presidential election and its impact on the U.S. Supreme Court, which could end up hearing the case.

Since the 2014 ruling, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said it has received 2,463 applications for concealed carry permits from people without special needs. Those have not yet been processed, the department’s lawyer said, and after Thursday’s ruling the applicants can expect them to remain on hold.

Read more about the controversial ruling here.

Image Credit: Flickr User mrbill, https://flic.kr/p/6689hJ via (CC BY 2.0)