Friday, February 14, 2014

US: Federal Appellate Court Rules CA Concealed Carry Policy Violated 2nd Amendment

According to The Christian Science Monitor, in a major victory for gun rights activists, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday (February 13) that concealed firearms regulations in California violate a Second Amendment right to carry a concealed handgun in public. 
The 2-to-1 decision came in a case challenging a San Diego County gun regulation that required residents to prove they have a justifiable explanation to carry a concealed firearm. 
The opinion is expected to spark renewed debate over gun control measures in a country plagued by spontaneous shootings at schools and other public places, largely by mass-casualty shooters who have been diagnosed with mental illness.
Unless the applicant could demonstrate a heightened risk to his or her safety, the permit would be denied.
COMMENT: The majority of the judges said such a requirement cannot be imposed on a constitutional right. Responsible, law-abiding citizens do not have to justify whether they are under an imminent threat to their safety to carry a gun for protection, the judges said.
The Second Amendment guarantees to them the authority to decide for themselves whether to carry a weapon for personal safety. At issue was whether gun control regulations in California and San Diego prevented citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
California law prohibits all gun owners from openly carrying firearms. So the only means of exercising a right to bear arms for personal protection in California would be to obtain a concealed carry permit.
Gun owners challenged the San Diego permit process in federal court, arguing that they should not have to prove they face an imminent threat to their safety to qualify for a concealed carry permit.
County officials defended the concealed carry permit regulation, arguing that the US Supreme Court in its landmark gun rights decision in 2008 said concealed carry restrictions were “presumptively lawful.”
The high court observed that the majority of 19th-century courts that examined the issue concluded that prohibitions on concealed weapons did not violate the Second Amendment, lawyers for the county argued.
Judge O’Scannlain refuted the county's argument. He said the California/San Diego regulations failed to be defendable that left gun owners with no choice between open carry – which is illegal in California – and concealed carry, which is subject to the discretion of government officials.
In his dissenting opinion, Judge Sidney Thomas said the county’s policy was constitutional and fully in line with the Supreme Court’s observation that such regulations are “presumptively lawful.”
To date, four other appeals courts have examined the issue of whether the Second Amendment protects a citizen’s right to bear arms outside the home for self-defense.
Three courts have upheld gun regulations, one found a broad constitutional right. Thursday’s decision makes the split among the appeals courts 3 to 2, a substantive disagreement that increases the likelihood that the Supreme Court will examine the 2nd Amendment yet again.

Any reasonable person is cognitively aware that criminals select victims largely when law enforcement is not present. As a result, as heinous, violent crimes continue to occur anecdotally and statistically, the real question is:

Why should law-abiding citizens be sent to the morgue unnecessarily when all 50 states in the US have enforceable concealed-carry legislation?

As so many of our readers of STAYING SAFE ABROAD can attest, no citizen should be denied a long-lasting life, providing that they can proficiently protect themselves with a concealed firearm.

Interestingly, in my own home state of Michigan, which has had concealed-carry legislation for year, those responsible for enforcing concealed-carry laws have been specifically banned from asking citizens to justify "why they need a firearm to protect themselves."