BB&K Police Bulletin: Requiring Showing of Good-Cause for Concealed Carry Permit Violates Second Amendment

Second Amendment Requires States to Permit Some Form of Carry for Self-Defense Outside of the Home

Overview: The Ninth Circuit has ruled unconstitutional a San Diego County policy requiring applicants for a concealed carry permit to show “good cause” prior to obtaining the permit. The court found that the policy infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense. The Second Amendment requires states to permit some form of carry for self-defense outside of the home.

Training Points: While this ruling significantly alters how law enforcement agencies can regulate the issuance of concealed carry permits, it does not limit all regulation. California does not prevent every person from bearing arms outside the home and the provisions allowing concealed carry for particular groups or for particular circumstances remain proper and valid. Laws prohibiting the possession of weapons/firearms by convicted felons, the mentally ill, those convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, and laws forbidding carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings also remain unaffected. Laws designed to make the carrying of firearms for self-defense as safe as possible for the carrier and the community do not violate the Second Amendment.

However, as long as this court ruling stands, any policy or regulation that places severe restrictions on applicants desiring a concealed carry permit by requiring a showing of concern for personal safety violates the Second Amendment. In light of this ruling, all law enforcement agencies should review their policies regarding the issuance of concealed weapons permits to insure they comply with these findings.

Summary Analysis: In Peruta v. County of San Diego, plaintiffs applied for concealed-carry licenses and were denied. They sued the county and its Sheriff claiming that the “good cause” requirement for issuance of a concealed carry license violated their Second Amendment right to bear arms for lawful self-defense. The court found that to “bear” means to “carry” for a particular purpose: confrontation. As a result of the court’s interpretation, it reasoned that the carrying of a handgun outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense constitutes “bearing arms” within the meaning of the Second Amendment.

The court then looked at whether the county’s policy of requiring applicants to show “good cause” prior to receiving a concealed carry permit burdened or destroyed a citizen’s Second Amendment right. The court found the county’s policy of requiring an applicant to show “good cause” unconstitutional as it went too far in attempting to regulate the right.