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Federal appeals court overturns California concealed weapons ban

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Thursday struck down [opinion, PDF] a California concealed weapons rule [text], ruling it violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The rule required concealed weapons applicants to show good cause to receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon, be of "good moral character," and complete a training course. In order to establish good cause, supporting documents such as restraining orders or letters from law enforcement agencies could be used to determine whether the applicant could show a sufficiently pressing need for self-protection. Plaintiffs Edward Peruta, Michelle Laxson, James Dodd, Leslie Buncher and Mark Cleary wished to carry handguns for self-defense but were unable to provide supporting documents. The plaintiffs sued San Diego County, alleging that the rule infringed upon their Second Amendment [text] right to bear arms. Using the historical and plain-meaning interpretation of the constitutional language, the court ruled [AP report] that if the right to bear arms were restricted to the home, the constitutional significance of the right would not be achieved.

The Second Amendment and gun control [JURIST news archive] remain controversial issues in the US. Last year the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that permits to carry concealed weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. On the same day the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] refused to reconsider a ruling that struck down [JURIST reports] Illinois' ban on carrying concealed weapons. In January 2013 President Barack Obama [official website] signed 23 executive actions [JURIST report] and called on Congress to pass stricter gun-control laws. In November 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] held [JURIST reports] that New York can continue to require residents who seek to carry a concealed weapon to obtain a special license.

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