In a major decision today, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that California’s “good cause” requirement for handgun carry licenses violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In May 2009, during a short period when the federal Second Amendment legally applied to California through the Ninth Circuit’s Nordyke v. King decision, civil rights attorneys Alan Gura and Donald Kilmer filed a federal right-to-carry lawsuit against Sacramento County’s then-sheriff John McGinness and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto on behalf of The Calguns Foundation (CGF), the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and a number of individual plaintiffs. That lawsuit, then named Sykes v. McGinness, challenged the California statutes requiring “good cause” and “good moral character” as facially unconstitutional. The Sykescase also challenged the two sheriffs’ local policies as unconstitutional “as-applied” to the individual plaintiffs’ facts. Sacramento County eventually settled out of the lawsuit by agreeing to implement a “shall-issue” policy; the case continued against Yolo County and Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto as Richards v. Prieto.
Months after the Sykes case was filed, a lawsuit that replicated the CGF/SAF lawsuit was filed in San Diego County by Mr. Edward Peruta. Thankfully, the National Rifle Association intervened in the Peruta matter, adding new plaintiffs and significant resources to the case’s legal team including noted civil rights law firm Michel & Associates as well as former Solicitor General Paul Clement. The Peruta case result today is due in large part to the strength of the arguments mirrored from the Sykes lawsuit as well as the excellent legal work by Michel & Associates and Mr. Clement.
Though the Richards and Peruta cases were heard by the same three judge Ninth Circuit panel on the same day, the Court has only released its opinion on the Peruta matter so far. We look forward to the Court’s Richards decision and continuing our efforts to ensure that all law-abiding Californians have an accessible way to fully exercise their right to bear arms for self-defense.
The Calguns Foundation thanks the National Rifle Association, California Rifle & Pistol Association, Michel & Associates, and Mr. Paul Clement for their fantastic work to advance the fundamental Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and congratulates them on their very important victory for all law-abiding Californians.
For more on these cases and the legal status of the right to bear arms (carry) in California, please visit http://www.calgunsfoundation.org/carry.
Logo courtesy The Calguns Foundation