AG to Appeal Concealed Weapons Decision

State Attorney General Kamala Harris has stepped into the San Diego County fight over gutting of a law that limited permits to carry concealed weapons by announcing Thursday she will seek rehearing of the pro-gun ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The announcement comes on the heels of a decision by the Sheriff of San Diego County not to appeal a Feb. 13 decision by the 9th Circuit.  That ruling held unconstitutional the county’s requirement of a “good cause” showing by applicants for concealed weapon permits.

The divided three judge panel ruled that applicants legally entitled to carry weapons must only assert a desire to carry a concealed weapon.

Harris said she would ask the entire 27-judge to vote to reconsider the ruling.  If approved by a majority vote of the court, the case would go before an 11-judge rehearing panel, known as an en banc court.

The ruling gutted the San Diego gun law and was a severe blow the state weapons regulation, which has some of the strongest gun ownership limits in the country.

Harris may have a good chance at rehearing.  The two-vote majority came from two members of the conservative wing of the court, Judges Diarmuid O’Scannlain and Connie Callahan.

Dissenting was liberal Judge Sidney Thomas.  In addition, O’Scannlain’s opinion slits with rulings in the New York-based 2nd Circuit, Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit and Richmond, VA-based 4th Circuit.

The full court is dominated by left of center Democrat-appointed judges who may want to reconsider.

The San Diego law, approved in 1999, required applicants to provide documentation to demonstrate a “good cause” for carrying a concealed weapon, such as restraining orders, letters from law enforcement or some strong showing of a pressing need for self-protection.

The majority said the Second Amendment secures the right not only to “keep” arms but also to “bear” them, and struck down the “good cause” requirement.

Case: Peruta v. County of San Diego, No. 10-56971

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