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California: Amicus Brief Filed by NRA in Ninth Circuit Appeal

Friday, May 27, 2011

On Monday, May 23, 2011, the CRPA Foundation and a number of San Diego residents had attorneys from Michel & Associates, PC file their opening brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their appeal seeking to overturn a U.S. district court ruling from December 10, 2010 that upheld San Diego Sheriff William Gore’s restrictive and unfair policies in issuing permits to carry concealed firearms. The case is Peruta v. County of San Diego. (See the Opening Brief here).

On May 27, 2011, the NRA weighed in on this appeal with an amicus brief authored by former Solicitor General and renowned constitutional litigator, Paul Clement. The NRA’s brief reiterates the position NRA took in a previous amicus brief filed with the Ninth Circuit in the Nordyke v. King case, that infringements on fundamental rights, like the right to bear arms, must be reviewed under strict scrutiny. The brief continues though, arguing even if the “substantial burden” test that was ultimately adopted by the Ninth Circuit in Nordyke is the proper test for reviewing Second Amendment infringements, San Diego County’s CCW issuance policy still fails. (See NRA's amicus brief here).

NRA’s amicus brief is the second to be filed in this important case. On May 25, 2011, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) filed its amicus brief, authored by the renowned Second Amendment scholar, and author of "The Framer's Second Amendment," Stephen P. Halbrook, in support of Plaintiffs/Appellants in Peruta case The CORE brief emphasized how the right to “bear arms” does not stop at one’s doorstep, and gave a historical analysis of the Fourteenth Amendment, discussing how discretionary firearms licensing laws were an incident of slavery. (
See CORE’s amicus brief here)

More amicus briefs are expected to be filed over the next few days.

California law allows a permit to carry a concealed firearm (CCW) to be issued if an applicant has “good cause.” The Peruta lawsuit asserts that under the Second Amendment, a desire for self-defense must constitute “good cause” for the issuance of a CCW, and that Gore’s requirement that an applicant demonstrate some special need or a specific threat in order to get a CCW is an unconstitutional restriction on the right to carry a loaded firearm in public ready to be used for self-defense.

In a nutshell, the district court held that rather than needing a CCW to defend oneself, since California law allows unloaded open carry of handguns one can carry unloaded and openly, and then act pursuant to a California law that requires you to wait until you are about to be attacked, then load your firearm (see Cal. Pen. Code section 12031(j)). Because of the time needed to get an unloaded firearm ready to be used for self-defense, unloaded carry is not an effective way to exercise your fundamental, individual constitutional right to be ready and able to defend yourself under the Second Amendment. Plaintiffs are asking the Ninth Circuit to overrule the district court’s decision. (See opening appellate brief here).

The plaintiffs include several individuals who were either denied CCWs or do not qualify under the Sheriff’s strict issuance standards, as well as the CRPA Foundation. Copies of the court filings in the lawsuit and appeal can be viewed at
http://michellawyers.com/perutavsandiego.

The lawsuit and appeal are being funded by the NRA-CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project (LAP). To fight for the self-defense civil rights of all Californians, the NRA and CRPA Foundation have joined forces. Through LAP, NRA/CRPAF attorneys fight ill-conceived gun control laws and ordinances, educate state and local officials about available programs that are effective in reducing accidents and violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and produce valid science about game and wildlife resource management.

To contribute to the NRA/CRPAF Legal Action Project (LAP) and support this and similar efforts and Second Amendment litigation in California, visit
www.crpafoundation.org and www.nraila.org.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.