Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules There Is No 2nd Amendment Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Public

6/10/16  In Peruta, et al. v. County of San Diego, No. 10-56971 (6/9/16) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled there is no right in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution to carry a concealed weapon in public.


Under California law a person may apply to a County Sheriff or a Municipal Police Chief for a Concealed Weapons Carry Permit.  Without such a permit, in California it is a crime to carry a concealed weapon in public.  Once the person has applied for the permit the Sheriff or Police Chief may issue a permit if in their opinion “Good Cause” exists to issue the permits.


In this case several California individuals [the plaintiffs] applied to obtain concealed weapon carry permits and those applications were denied by law enforcement.  The plaintiffs contended they had a 2nd Amendment right to carry weapons in public, and the permit application process placed an unjustified burden on the exercise of that right.  The plaintiffs did not argue they had a 2nd Amendment right to possess concealed weapons in public; rather, they argued that given other restrictions on pubic weapons possession under state statute the only real way to carry a weapon in public was with a concealed weapons permit.  In short the plaintiffs sought to have the whole statute governing possession of weapons in public declared an unconstitutional violation of the 2nd Amendment because the permit process limited the only real way someone may exercise that right to possess a weapon in public.


In its majority opinion the Ninth Circuit chose to answer a narrow question which it said was the only issue before it.  Since the plaintiffs appealed from the denial of their application for a concealed weapons carry permit the court held the only issue was, was the application process in violation of the 2nd Amendment.  Since the plaintiffs were only asking for a concealed weapons permit that process would only be in violation of the 2nd Amendment is if there is a 2nd Amendment right to possess a concealed weapon in public.  To answer the question the court went through the history of concealed weapons and possession of concealed weapons crimes at length, and concluded historically there was no 2nd Amendment right to carry a concealed weapon in public, therefore, the application process was not in violation of any right secured by the 2nd Amendment.  By answering the narrow question of is there a 2nd Amendment right to possess a concealed weapon the court sidestepped the plaintiffs’ real argument that the application process effectively limited the possession of any weapon, concealed or not, in public and as such was a violation of the 2nd Amendment.  The dissent pointed out that had the court chosen to decide that larger issue, it could have.


This is a major decision and the plaintiffs may seek to appeal the case to the United States Supreme court.


A New York Times article about the case can be found at:


The case can be read at:



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