The en banc court affirmed the district courts’ judgments and held that there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.
Appellants, who live in San Diego and Yolo Counties, sought to carry concealed firearms in public for self-defense, but alleged they were denied licenses to do so because they did not satisfy the good cause requirements in their counties. Under California law, an applicant for a license must show, among other things, “good cause” to carry a concealed firearm. California law authorizes county sheriffs to establish and publish policies defining good cause. Appellants contend that San Diego and Yolo Counties’ published policies defining good cause violate their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
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.
As a reminder, California bans open carry entirely. By allowing arbitrary “good cause” requirements for concealed carry that can be denied under any pretext, the 2nd amendment is effectively non-existent outside of one’s home.
The Supreme Court will have to weigh in with a solid decision stating the 2nd Amendment applies to carry outside the home in order to overrule these sorts of decisions – and this will require another district coming up with a ruling opposite what the 9th circuit has returned.