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You asked for a summary of Peruta v. San Diego (824 F.3d 919), in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the 2nd Amendment includes the right to carry concealed firearms in public.
The 2nd Amendment states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed” (U.S. Const. Amend. II). By a seven to four margin, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in
With some exceptions, California’s current statutory scheme generally prohibits anyone from carrying concealed firearms (loaded or unloaded) in public. One exception allows concealed carry under a license (Cal. Penal Code §§ 25850, 26350, 25400.) To obtain a license, an applicant must (among other things) show “good cause,” as determined by the county sheriff or police department, as applicable (Cal. Penal Code §§ 25655 & 26160).
In 2009, plaintiffs Edward Peruta, a resident of San Diego County, and Adam Richards, a resident of Yolo County, were denied licenses to carry concealed firearms because they did not show good cause under their respective county’s policy. Along with other plaintiffs, they brought separate suits, challenging the denials on 2nd Amendment grounds.
The question before the en banc court was whether the 2nd Amendment protects someone's ability to carry concealed firearms in public. Plaintiffs contended that (1) the 2nd Amendment guarantees the general public at least some ability to carry firearms in public; (2) California’s restrictions on concealed and open carry of firearms, taken together, violate the 2nd Amendment; and (3) there would be sufficient opportunity for public carry of firearms to satisfy the amendment if the good cause requirement for concealed carry, as interpreted by the sheriffs, were eliminated (Peruta at 927).
The court stated the following:
1. Under English law, the carrying of concealed weapons was consistently prohibited since at least 1541.
2. Concealed carry was consistently forbidden in the American colonies and was consistently forbidden by the states (with the sole and short-lived exception of Kentucky) both before and after the Civil War.
3. In the years after the adoption of the 2nd Amendment but before the adoption of the 14th Amendment, the state courts that considered the question nearly universally concluded that laws forbidding concealed weapons were consistent with both the 2nd Amendment and their state constitutions.
4. “In the decades immediately after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, all of the state courts that addressed the question upheld the ability of their state legislatures to prohibit concealed weapons” (Peruta at 939).
5. The U.S. Supreme Court (Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 U.S. 275 (1897)) unambiguously stated in 1897 that the 2nd Amendment protection does not extend to the carrying of concealed weapons. . . . and “the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons” (Peruta at 939, 940).
The court further stated that:
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. There may or may not be a Second Amendment right for a member of the general public to carry a firearm openly in public. The Supreme Court has not answered that question, and we do not answer it here (id. at 939).
even construing the Second Amendment as protecting the right of the general public to carry a firearm in public, and even assuming that California’s restrictions on public open carry violate the Second Amendment so construed, it does not follow that California’s restrictions on public concealed carry violate the Amendment (id. at 941, 942).
To the seven-member majority, the only legal issue was whether carrying concealed firearms is, in itself, a 2nd Amendment right as the right has been traditionally understood. But the four dissenting judges said the full legal context should have been considered.