Legal Alerts Mar 31, 2015

Ninth Circuit to Rehear Second Amendment Case

Case Challenges San Diego County Sheriff’s Policy on Issuance of Concealed Carry Permits

A federal appellate court’s decision to re-hear a controversial Second Amendment case has left California without any federal judicial constraints on its concealed firearm permit process. In voting last week to grant a re-hearing in Peruta v. San Diego County before a larger panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the judges said a previous ruling must not be used as case law. This applies to California and all the other states in the Ninth Circuit.

In February 2014, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a published opinion by a two-judge majority finding that the San Diego County Sheriff Department’s policy of denying carry concealed firearm permits applications based solely on a stated need for self-defense violated the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantee to the right to bear arms.

The Sheriff did not seek further review of the decision; however, the California Attorney General, the California Police Chief’s Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence did. The effort was rebuffed by the original three judges in November. So the parties sought a rehearing en banc — that is, by a panel of 11 judges of the court.

Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Sidney Thomas, who, ironically, was the dissenting member of the three-judge panel, and 10 circuit judges, chosen by lot, will rehear Peruta’s Second Amendment challenge to the Sheriff Department’s carry concealed firearm permit process. The en banc panel decision is likely months away, and it is anticipated the losing party will take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you have questions about this case or how it will affect your municipality or agency, please contact the attorney author of this legal alert listed at right in the firm’s Public Safety practice group or your BB&K attorney.

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Disclaimer: BB&K legal alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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