Earlier this month, a ruling by the Ninth US District Court of Appeals struck down restrictions in San Diego County, California over carrying concealed weapons. On Friday, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore notified the County Board of Supervisors that he will not be seeking an appeal.
“I see no need for me to petition for a hearing or rehearing en banc in order to be able to carry out my duties as sheriff of San Diego County. As a result, I have advised the Office of County Counsel that I will not seek such a hearing,” Gore wrote in a letter to the county board, adding that he believes the decision by the court’s three-member panel was “exhaustive” and “provides clear guidance.”
California counties have great flexibility when it comes to setting requirements for concealed carry permits. Many gun owners say some of these requirements are restrictive enough to violate the Second Amendment, and in the case of San Diego, at least one court agreed. In order to be issued a concealed carry permit in San Diego County, applicants have to satisfy a “good cause” requirement beyond just self-defense. Gun owner Edward Peruta filed a lawsuit in 2009 after he was denied a permit by the county and the case quickly gained momentum among gun rights advocates in the state. In the end, a federal court ruled that the county’s restrictions unreasonably bar residents from carrying firearms for self-defense.
“In California, the only way that the typical, responsible, law-abiding citizen can carry a weapon in public for the lawful purpose of self-defense is with a concealed carry permit. And, in San Diego County, that option has been taken off the table,” wrote Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain.
The ruling not only struck down San Diego County’s “may issue” stance, it challenged the long-standing gun laws of other California counties. Days after the Peruta v. San Diego decision, Orange County moved forward to change its concealed carry application process by loosening requirements. Since then, the county’s sheriff’s department has received a flood of permit requests.
“I am thrilled that the (Orange County) sheriff has seen the writing on the wall and recognized that Orange County citizens should have the right to choose to carry a firearm to protect themselves,” Attorney Chuck Michel, who represented the plaintiffs in the Peruta case, told the Los Angeles Times.
Sheriff Gore has indicated his office will also be issuing permits in line with the federal court’s decision as soon as it is finalized.
“Should the decision of the Ninth Circuit become final, the sheriff’s department will begin to issue CCWs in situations where the applicant has met all other lawful qualifications and has requested a CCW for purposes of self-defense,” read a release from Gore’s office.
Applicants are still subject to an interview, registration fees, background checks, and a firearm safety course. Michel says he believes the ruling will become final in about a month.