CA’s ‘Good Cause’ for Concealed Carry Goes to Supreme Court

Brandon Oathout of Johnstown, N.Y., attends a Second Amendment rally at the Capitol on Tue
AP/Mike Groll

Petitioners in the Peruta case asked the Supreme Court to hear the case as soon as possible, taking the issue of concealed carry, a key question in Second Amendment jurisprudence, to the nation’s highest court.

The Peruta case, Peruta v. County of San Diegowas filed by concealed permit applicants who believed the “good cause” requirement for concealed carry permit issuance infringed upon their Second Amendment rights in San Diego and Yolo Counties. The case made national news on February 13, 2014, when a three judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against the “good cause” requirement, finding it in violation of the Constitution. The panel explained that the right to keep and bear arms is, in and of itself, a sufficient cause for bearing arms for self-defense, and that it is a sufficient cause both inside and outside of one’s domicile.

The Ninth Circuit was then petitioned to revisit the case and hear it en banc. The court agreed to do so and, on June 9, 2016, reversed the original ruling by upholding the “good cause” requirement and declaring that Americans has no right to carry a concealed handgun outside the home for self-defense. Judge Williams Fletcher wrote, “We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”

These decisions, together with decisions in other circuits around the country, have now led the petitioners in Peruta to believe Supreme Court intervention is needed, and likely.

The petitioners point to the Supreme Court’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) — a clear affirmation of the individual right to keep and bear arms — and then enlarge on the fact that various lower courts are now split on the breadth of that individual right. These splits indicate it is time for the Supreme Court to take the case:

This Court has already established that the “core lawful purpose” of the Second Amendment is “self-defense.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 630 (2008). The text of the Second Amendment protects a right to bear arms, as well as to keep them, and the need for self-defense is equally necessary outside the home as inside. It therefore should be beyond cavil that ordinary, law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense in some manner, whether by open or concealed carry. Yet, 225 years after the Second Amendment’s ratification, lower courts are divided over that question, and the Ninth Circuit has now widened the chasm.

The time has come for this Court to resolve that exceptionally important constitutional question. Respondents’ efforts to deny that split blink reality. Lower courts have clearly reached different conclusions about whether and to what extent the Second Amendment protects a right to bear arms outside the home, with now two courts concluding that it does; three courts concluding that it does not; three courts assuming that it does, but that any protection is less robust than protections for other fundamental rights; and the Ninth Circuit concluding that the government has carte blanche to prohibit concealed carry even if it bans open carry.

The Petititioners also point to the ongoing efforts in San Diego County, in California as a whole, and in other portions of the country to limit concealed carry in a piecemeal fashion that will eventually result in disarming the law-abiding citizen — wherever he or she may be:

Allowing individuals to carry handguns in vanishingly small subsections of sparsely populated “unincorporated” areas, or while fishing or camping, or during “the brief interval” when they are already confronted with “an immediate, grave danger,” is no substitute for allowing individuals to be armed and ready for self-defense should confrontation arise. Thus, the simple reality is that, in the vast majority of San Diego County, ordinary, law-abiding citizens like petitioners can carry handguns neither openly nor concealed. The same is true for millions of individuals in several of the most populous jurisdictions throughout both California and the rest of the country. Whether that result is consistent with the Constitution is a question that was squarely pressed and repeatedly passed upon below. Accordingly, this is the right time and the right case for this Court to decide whether the right to bear arms really can be confined to a select subset of “the people” that the Second Amendment protects.

Ken Klukowski, senior legal editor for Breitbart News, spoke about the petitioner’s request for the Supreme Court to take the case, saying, “This is the latest proof that former Solicitor General Paul Clement is an extraordinary legal advocate, especially on Second Amendment issues. The justices should take this extremely important case to address the scope of the right to bear arms for almost 100 million American gun owners.”

AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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