NRA and CRPA Orange County Carry Suits Lead to Appeal

Posted on June 24, 2013

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Opening another front in the Right-to-Carry battle, on Sept. 5, a lawsuit backed by the NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association was filed against Orange County, Calif. and Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit (McKay v. Hutchens) was filed on behalf of several Orange County residents who have been denied carry licenses and seeks to remedy Sheriff Hutchens’ discriminatory licensing practice of requiring “good cause,” which the complaint defines as “a special or contemporaneous ‘need’ to defend oneself – something more than ‘general concerns about personal safety.’”

The complaint argues that bans on the open carry of unloaded handguns and long guns without a license, combined with a discriminatory licensing procedure for concealed carry, infringe on “the right of law-abiding, competent adults to ‘possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,’” as stated in Heller

On Sept. 11, plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the “good cause” requirement. The motion sought to force Orange County officials to immediately halt enforcement of “Sheriff Hutchens’ policy implementing the ‘good cause’ criterion … for the issuance of licenses that allow for the carrying of loaded handguns generally in public in any manner that does not recognize a general desire for self-defense as satisfying the ‘good cause’ criterion” until the matter was finally resolved by the court. Unfortunately, on October 29, the court denied this motion. 

The case is now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The plaintiffs’ opening brief makes the case that Heller supports the notion that the Right to Carry is “core Second Amendment conduct” that extends outside one’s own home, and thus, the extreme burdens Sheriff Hutchens places on doing so are unconstitutional. 

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