In a 7-4 decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, it was ruled that concealed carry is not a right covered in the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
California is known for its stringent gun control laws. As a “may issue” state, local authorities can judge whether or not to issue concealed carry permits to applicants. Obtaining a concealed carry permit is easier in the more rural counties compared with larger urban areas such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Some areas are considered “no issue.”
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In the bigger cities, one must demonstrate “good cause” to the sheriff or police chief in order to carry a concealed gun. Citing the Second Amendment or appealing to self-defense is not sufficient. It has to be proven that the applicant’s life is in imminent danger. And even then, it’s still up to the sheriff or police chief.
Such was the nature of this lawsuit. According to the court document’s summary, the appellants had intended to obtain licenses to carry guns in public for self-defense, but they were denied on the grounds that they lacked “good cause” – not only for concealed carry but also to have a firearm at all. The appellants argued that these restrictions constituted violations of the 2nd Amendment.
The majority of judges didn’t see it that way. According to the majority opinion:
“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…”
Additionally, Judge William A. Fletcher – who wrote the majority opinion – opined, “The carrying of concealed weapons was consistently forbidden in England beginning in 1541; was consistently forbidden in the American colonies; and was consistently forbidden by the states.”