9th Circuit Peruta Decision Boiled Down To The Essentials

Today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals released their opinion in Peruta v. County of San Diego as well as Richards v. Prieto. The court sitting en banc said to California residents that unless you were rich and famous and could afford a substantial bribe campaign contribution to your local sheriff or were a Federal judge protected by the US Marshals Service, then you had no Second Amendment right to carry concealed. In essence, the court said you were on your own and if you wanted to carry a firearm concealed for self-defense, then you were just shit out of luck.

In the summary they said:

The en banc court held that the history relevant to both
the Second Amendment and its incorporation by the
Fourteenth Amendment lead to the same conclusion: The
right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed
firearm in public is not, and never has been, protected by the
Second Amendment. Therefore, because the Second
Amendment does not protect in any degree the right to carry
concealed firearms in public, any prohibition or restriction a
state may choose to impose on concealed carry — including a requirement of “good cause,” however defined — is
necessarily allowed by the Amendment. The en banc court
stated that there may or may not be a Second Amendment
right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm
openly in public, but the Supreme Court has not answered
that question.

You may remember that a regular three-judge 9th Circuit panel had found that the Second Amendment does indeed convey a right to carry. Chief Judge Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee, had been in the minority in that decision and worked to get it reheard en banc.

Today he was in the 7-4 majority with the opinion written by Judge William Fletcher, a Clinton appointee. Chief Judge Thomas was also joined in the majority by Judge Harry Pregerson, a 93-year old Carter appointee; Judge Susan Graber, a Clinton appointee; Judge Margaret McKeown, a Clinton appointee; Judge Richard Paez, a Clinton appointee; and Judge John Owens, a Obama appointee.

Voting for the Second Amendment right to carry were Judge Consuelo Callahan, a George W. Bush appointee; Judge Barry Silverman, a Clinton appointee; Judge Carlos Bea, a George W. Bush appointee; and Judge N. Randy Smith, a George W. Bush appointee.

I applaud Judge Silverman for bucking the trend of Democratic appointees who voted against the Second Amendment. Perhaps the judge was familiar with the works of the English philosopher John Locke who had greatly influenced our founding fathers. In Locke’s Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government, Locke said, in so many words, that the first law of nature is a right to self-defense. In that view, it could be argued that today’s 9th Circuit decision was a crime against the laws of nature.

I am in agreement with Sebastian that it would be very dangerous for the plaintiffs to appeal this ruling to the US Supreme Court as the Court stands now. I have an interview for the Polite Society Podcast scheduled for Friday with Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation. I’m sure that will come up during the interview. I will post more on that tomorrow afternoon.

9th Circuit Orders En Banc Rehearing In Peruta And Richards Cases

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sidney Thomas is getting his wish:  an en banc rehearing of the Peruta and Richards cases. Judge Thomas was the sole dissenter in those cases. The only way to reverse the precedent in those cases was to have it reversed by the US Supreme Court or through an en banc rehearing of the case.
When an unnamed judge on the Ninth Circuit – widely assumed to be Judge Thomas – called sua sponte for an en banc rehearing of the case, it wasn’t good news. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants were required to submit briefs arguing either for or against an en banc rehearing. The decision on whether to call for the rehearing was dependent upon the vote of the majority of the active judges on the circuit. Given the overall liberal nature of this circuit, I guess we should not be surprised by the rehearing.

Upon the vote of a majority of nonrecused active judges, it is ordered that
this case be reheard en banc pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure
35(a) and Circuit Rule 35-3. The three-judge panel opinion and order denying
motions to intervene shall not be cited as precedent by or to any court of the Ninth

The panel sitting on the rehearing of the case will be Chief Judge Thomas, a Clinton appointee, and 10 other judges picked at random. In all other circuits, all active judges would sit for the en banc rehearing. However, given the number of judges in the Ninth Circuit, they have had to adopt different procedures.

The question on whether California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the State of California will be allowed to intervene in the case is still up in the air.

All in all, this isn’t good news for carry rights in California.

Another Win For Carry In California

You may remember that the oral arguments for Richards v. Prieto and Baker v. Kealoha were heard by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals at the same time as they heard Peruta v. San Diego. We have been waiting to hear their decision in both of these other cases. Today the 9th Circuit released their decision in Richards and it was a win for carry in California.

In light of our disposition of the same issue in Peruta v. County of San
Diego, No. 10-56971, — F.3d — (Feb. 13, 2014), we conclude that the district
court in this case erred in denying Richard’s motion for summary judgment
because the Yolo County policy impermissibly infringes on the Second
Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.


Judge Sidney Thomas, a Clinton appointee who keeps his chambers in Billings, Montana, concurred with the decision given Peruta. However, he made it clear that without the Peruta decision, he would have held that California’s “good cause” requirement would be upheld one way or another.

Absent Peruta, I would hold that the
Yolo County’s “good cause” requirement is constitutional because carrying
concealed weapons in public is not conduct protected by the Second Amendment.
See United States v. Chester, 628 F.3d 673, 680 (4th Cir. 2010). I also would have
held, in the alternative, that even if the good cause requirement implicated the
Second Amendment, the policy survives intermediate scrutiny.

I find his reasoning hard to believe of someone who is not only a Montana native but who also attended both college and law school in that state. I know there are plenty of both Democrats and liberals in Montana but even they tend to be pro-gun.

The CalGuns Foundation and the Second Amendment Foundation are both pretty happy about this turn of events.

BELLEVUE, WA, and ROSEVILLE, CA – The Second Amendment Foundation and The Calguns Foundation earned a significant victory today when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case of Richards v. Prieto, challenging the handgun carry license issuing policy of Yolo County, California, Sheriff Ed Prieto.

“Today’s ruling reinforces the Second Amendment’s application to state and local governments, and will help clear the way for more California citizens to exercise their right to bear arms,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “California officials have been put on notice that they can no longer treat the Second Amendment as a heavily-regulated government privilege.”

The case was originally filed in 2009 as Sykes v. McGinness, and challenged not only Yolo County’s policies, but Sacramento County’s then-restrictive practices as well. SAF, Calguns and two private citizens, Adam Richards and Brett Stewart, continued pursuing the case against Yolo County after Sacramento County agreed to relax its policy. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Alan Gura and Don Kilmer.

“We are confident that the win today will stand the test of time,” said Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman.

The Richards case was argued at the same time, and to the same panel, that earlier decided Peruta v. County of San Diego, a similar case challenging overly-restrictive carry license policies. Yolo County and Sheriff Prieto argued that their policies were distinguishable from those struck down in Peruta, but apparently, the three-judge panel unanimously disagreed.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision moves our Carry License Compliance Initiative forward,” explained CGF Executive Director Brandon Combs. “We’re already preparing the next phase of litigation to ensure that all law-abiding Californians can exercise their right to bear arms.”

Gottlieb noted that the battle over right-to-carry laws is far from over, but today’s Ninth Circuit decision reaffirms that court’s earlier ruling in the Peruta case and “moves the ball another step forward.”

“We will pursue Second Amendment affirmation wherever and whenever such cases are possible as SAF fights to win back gun rights one lawsuit at a time,” Gottlieb stated.

California carry license applicants can download state-standard application forms, legal information, and report unconstitutional policies or process issues at https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/carry.

H/T Sebastian

More On NRA/CRPA Amicus Briefs

The NRA and the CRPA filed amicus briefs in the California carry case Richards v. Prieto. The release from Chuck Michel is below which explains them in more detail.

August 31, 2011 – Today, the California Rifle and Pistol Foundation (“CRPA Foundation”) and the National Rifle Association filed amicus briefs in support of appellants in Richards v. Prieto, who have challenged California’s regulatory scheme governing the issuance of permits to carry concealed firearms (“CCW permits”) and Yolo County policies for its (non)-issuance of permits to residents seeking to exercise their right to carry a loaded firearm in public.

At issue in Richards is a Yolo County policy conditioning the issuance of CCW permits on a wholly discretionary assessment of each applicant’s “moral character” and stated “good cause.” In practice, Yolo’s policy prohibits the vast majority of county residents from obtaining a permit.

In its brief, available here, CRPA Foundation argues in support of the appellants that Yolo County’s CCW permitting policies are unconstitutional to the extent they deny law-abiding residents the only lawful means of exercising their right to bear operable handguns for self-defense anywhere in the State, despite the United States Supreme Court’s declaration that armed self-defense is a “central component” of our Second Amendment rights.

CRPA Foundation’s brief further provides an historical analysis of the right to keep and bear arms, which establishes that Yolo County’s broad prohibition on the carriage of loaded firearms is categorically unconstitutional and, at a minimum, fails to satisfy the heightened scrutiny required of regulations that so severely burden the right as to eliminate it altogether.

CRPAF is itself currently before the Ninth Circuit, litigating its own challenge to prohibitory local CCW permitting policies. Briefing in that case, Peruta v. San Diego, will be completed onASeptember 6, 2011.

In its brief, available here, NRA provides the Ninth Circuit panel with significant background on the practices and experiences of other states in issuing carry permits throughout the nation. NRA’s amicus brief beautifully illustrates the fact that issuing such permits to law-abiding citizens will not increase crime rates and may, in fact, cause them to fall.

The CRPA amicus brief is available here.

The NRA amicus brief is available here.

Classy Move

The NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association just filed an amicus brief in a California carry case, Richards v. Prieto. In return, the Second Amendment Foundation just issued this press release yesterday expressing their thanks for the NRA/CRPA support. Its good to see them playing well together!


For Immediate Release: 9/1/2011

BELLEVUE, WA – The Second Amendment Foundation today thanked the National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Foundation for filing amicus briefs in SAF’s challenge of Yolo County, California’s policies that exploit the state’s regulations on the issuance of concealed firearms carry permits.

Joining SAF in that lawsuit is the CalGuns Foundation. The case is known as Richards v. Prieto. It targets Yolo County’s arbitrary policy that requires CCW applicants to provide good cause for obtaining a permit, and subjects each applicant to a “moral character” standard.

“The policies practices in Yolo County are clearly unconstitutional and should be overturned,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “We filed the lawsuit because citizens should not be subjected to such policies simply in an effort to exercise their rights to bear arms for personal protection.

“We are delighted that our good friends at both the NRA and CRPA have filed briefs in support of this cause,” he continued. “Authorities in Yolo County who are trying to perpetuate this egregious policy despite the Supreme Court’s clear determination that self-defense is a cornerstone tenet of the right to keep and bear arms.”

Gottlieb noted that the overwhelming majority of the states have adopted shall-issue statutes for concealed carry licenses or permits, and that they have worked remarkably well by removing the authority from local officials who may want to abuse complicated regulations such as those that exist in the Golden State.

“State and local governments should be scrambling to review, and where necessary, adjust firearms laws and regulations in the wake of two Supreme Court rulings on the Second Amendment,” Gottlieb said. “When local governments continue to resist, rather than comply with, the principles and spirit of high court rulings and the Constitution, we’ll continue to meet them in court. As NRA and CRPAF have demonstrated with their briefs in this case, when we take people to court, we’re going to have company.”