New appeal on concealed gun law change

Anti-gun violence group still wants to intervene in weapons case

By Kristina Davis10:05 A.M.NOV. 26, 2014Updated10:53 A.M.

SAN DIEGO — A national anti-gun violence group is asking a larger panel of federal appeals court judges to reconsider letting it intervene in that case that would loosen restrictions on Californians carrying concealed weapons.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, as well as state Attorney General Kamala Harris, had asked to officially join the case so they could argue against a February U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals order that found San Diego County’s concealed gun carrying policies were unconstitutional.

Sheriff Bill Gore, who oversees the county’s issuing of such permits, decided earlier this year that he would abide by the ruling, in effect eliminating any official opposition.

In a split 2-1 decision by the court two weeks ago, the Brady Center and the Attorney General’s Office were told that they did not have standing to join the case as opposition, and that they had waited too late to try to intervene.

The Brady Center now wants a larger panel of judges to reconsider.

“California’s gun laws are strong, sensible and effective at reducing crime, and Brady will continue to fight to defend their constitutionality,” Jonathan Lowy, the Center’s Legal Action Project director, said in a statement Wednesday.

It is not yet known if the attorney general will also ask for reconsideration.

The case stems from a 2008 lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department by independent journalist Edward Peruta and other citizens who wanted concealed weapons permits but were denied.

State law holds that an applicant must be law-abiding and have “good cause” for a permit.

The Sheriff’s department, as well as many others throughout the state, has for years narrowly defined “good cause” to mean someone who faces a specific threat, such as someone being stalked or someone who frequently carries valuables or cash, like a diamond dealer.

The 9th Circuit, in a 2-1 split decision, ruled in February that wanting to carry a concealed gun for self-defense is good cause enough.

After the February ruling, Gore began accepting applications for permits under the new, less restrictive guidelines, but has stopped short of issuing permits until all appeals are exhausted. About 1,600 people have applied. Applicants must still be law-abiding and pass a shooting test, firearms safety class and background check.

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