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California: Victory in Peruta v. San Diego

Friday, February 14, 2014

Ninth Circuit Confirms Right to Carry Arms in Public


In a tremendous victory for the right to keep and bear arms, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry firearms for self-defense in public.  The landmark decision came in the NRA-supported case of Peruta v. San Diego County, brought on behalf of the CRPA Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff.  In its ruling, this federal court struck down a San Diego County Sheriff’s policy that prevented most law-abiding adults from getting a license to carry a firearm.


California law generally prohibits the carrying of firearms in public places, but allows sheriffs and chiefs of police to issue licenses to carry that exempt people from that prohibition.  California law also sets out criteria for issuing those licenses.  An applicant must: 1) be a resident of their respective city or county, 2) be of “good moral character,” and 3) have “good cause” for such a license.  Applicants must also pass a firearms training course.


Although many rural California counties accept self-defense as “good cause” to get a license to carry, many urban sheriffs and scores of urban chiefs of police across California have a policy, like that of San Diego Sheriff William Gore, that does not recognize self-defense as sufficient “good cause” to get a license to carry.  Instead, San Diego requires individuals to prove that they have a special need, beyond the desire to defend themselves and their families, in order to get a license.  Under this heightened standard nearly all citizens are disqualified.  So Sheriff Gore’s restrictive policy was essentially a ban on carrying firearms outside the home for most law-abiding adults, including the plaintiffs.


Peruta was filed in the federal district court in October 2009.  That court upheld Sheriff Gore’s policy as constitutional, so the plaintiffs immediately appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The case got a great deal of attention when former Solicitor General, Paul Clement joined plaintiffs’ legal team at Michel & Associates.   Mr. Clement argued eloquently on behalf of gun owners before the Ninth Circuit on December 6, 2012.


In its opinion reversing the district court’s decision, the Court of Appeals held that San Diego’s “good cause” policy is unconstitutional, and echoed the points made in the briefs and by Mr. Clement at oral argument; that the government can ban open carry or concealed carry, but the Second Amendment prohibits the government from banning both.


Peruta was one of many cases that have been filed all over the country challenging the constitutionality of laws limiting the issuance of licenses to carry a firearm in public since the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in 2008 and 2010 that the Second Amendment prohibits state and local governments from infringing the right to keep and bear arms.  The cases decided since then have met with mixed results.  Many were unfavorable and contrary to the Heller decision’s analysis.  The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did confirm the right to carry is protected outside the home in its opinion in another NRA-supported case, Shepard v. Madigan.  The Peruta court was heavily influenced by the rulings in the Shepard and Moore cases.  But those decisions did not go as far as Peruta, because the issue of carry licenses was not before the court in them.  So Peruta is the first appellate decision to hold that licenses to carry cannot be denied to law-abiding citizens just because they do not have a special need to carry.


The Peruta ruling is a significant victory for the Second Amendment, and for the constitutional rights of all Americans, especially those in the Ninth Circuit.  We will provide more details regarding the significance of this holding after our lawyers have a chance to thoroughly examine the language in this opinion.  But we wanted our members and supporters to know that so far your hard work and loyalty is paying big dividends in the vindication of the Second Amendment.  The fight is not over, but for now, thank you!

The NRA has numerous additional active legal challenges to a number of current California firearm laws, and more are planned.  If you would like to assist in our continued fight in this case and in fighting back against the attack on California gun owners’ rights in general, please donate to the NRA Legal Action Project here.  Your donation will be used for the benefit of Californians.  For a summary of the many actions the NRA legal team has taken or is currently taking on behalf of California gun owners, click here.




Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Appropriations Act Signed Into Law With Important Pro-Second Amendment Provisions

On Wednesday, November 25, the President signed S. 1356, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 into law. Included in the bill were some very important pro-gun provisions that represent the culmination of long-term efforts by ...


Friday, November 27, 2015

President Obama Signs NRA-Backed Measures into Law

President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It includes several NRA-backed provisions -- expanding gun rights on stateside military bases; prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning traditional ammunition; and saving taxpayer dollars ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...


Friday, May 15, 2015

Obama Administration Opposes CMP Handgun Sales

The House of Representatives has approved Congressman Mike D. Rogers’ amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which—if accepted in ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

“F” Stands for Fail: Gun Turn-in Event Nets a Stack of Paper Pledges and Some Surplus Sporting Goods

Recently, we reported on Hillary Clinton’s praise for local firearm “buyback” events and her view that forcing Americans to participate ...


Friday, November 20, 2015

Anti-gun Politicians, Media Exploit Paris Attacks in “Terrorist Gap” Rehash

The Paris terrorist attacks were not easily pinned on America’s supposedly lax gun laws or the NRA, but ...

Monday, November 30, 2015

Michigan: County Gun Boards Eliminated Tomorrow, New Licensing Process Goes Into Effect

Tomorrow, December 1, the primary components of NRA-backed Senate Bill 34 and Senate Bill 35 will take effect.  


Monday, November 30, 2015

Trench Warfare

The presidential election cycle keeps getting longer and more expensive. Nearly a year before Americans will finally cast ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Michigan: Governor Snyder Signs Firearm Inheritance Protection Act

Today, November 24, Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed Senate Bills 225 and 226.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Overwhelming 81 Percent of Current and Former Military have Unfavorable View of Clinton

More bad news for Hillary Clinton. Coming off the heels of survey results that found the former Secretary ...


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.