The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, often considered the most liberal court in the country, ruled Thursday that Americans do not have a right to carry a concealed weapon. CNN reports:
The 9th Circuit held 7-4 in the case, Peruta v. County of San Diego, that the restrictions on concealed carry are constitutional, ruling that the Second Amendment right to bear arms does not provide a right to carry concealed arms.
“The historical materials bearing on the adoption of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments are remarkably consistent,” wrote Judge William Fletcher, going back to 16th century English law to find instances of restrictions on concealed weapons. “We therefore conclude that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms does not include, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”
The case was brought over a San Diego sheriff who only granted concealed carry permits to people who could demonstrate they had reason to fear an attack, i.e. someone who could show they had been granted a restraining order against an individual. Fox News reports the dissent was written by Judge Consuelo M. Callahan:
“In the context of present-day California law, the Defendant counties’ limited licensing of the right to carry concealed firearms is tantamount to a total ban on the right of an ordinary citizen to carry a firearm in public for self-defense,” Callahan wrote.
“Because the majority eviscerates the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms as defined by Heller and reaffirmed in McDonald, I respectfully dissent,” Callahan said.
The ruling was criticized by plaintiffs:
“Once again the 9th Circuit showed how out of touch it is with mainstream Americans,” C.D. “Chuck” Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association – one of the plaintiffs in the case — said in a statement. “This decision will leave good people defenseless, as it completely ignores the fact that law-abiding Californians who reside in counties with hostile sheriffs will now have no means to carry a firearm outside the home for personal protection.”
The case could set up a new showdown at the Supreme Court which would likely be split 4-4 on the issue. If nothing else the 9th Circuit decision highlights the importance of this election for deciding which way the Supreme Court is likely to lean in the near future.