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Federal Court Hears Arguments Over Concealed Weapons Policy

Federal Court Hears Arguments Over Concealed Weapons Policy
Federal Court Hears Arguments Over Concealed Weapons Policy
Federal Court Hears Arguments Over Concealed Weapons Policy GUESTS: Robert Faigin, chief legal counsel, San Diego County Sheriff's Department Paul Neuharth, attorney Matt Drange, reporter, Center for Investigative Reporting

The full Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is revisiting a question about concealed carry gun permits. A case that got its start here in San Diego. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department used to require a permit secret to show a specific need to carry a concealed weapon. But three panel judge of the ninth circuit ruled last year that those requirements are too restrictive. Descended a man, Edward Arruda, brought the case to the sheriff's department rules originally, originators say the rules are likely headed to the US Supreme Court. Joining me are Robert Fagan, legal counsel with the San Diego Sheriff's Department. Welcome to the show work. Good afternoon. Paul is the attorney for the plaintiff welcome. Met with the Center for Center of investigative reporting is joining us hello. Let me start with you Matt, you have been covering this story, give us some background on this case if you would. For instance, the regulations for permits to carry a concealed weapon, those are decided on a county by county basis? Not exactly. The regulations are statewide. What differs by county is their interpretation of this regulations. So in San Diego, like a lot of counties around the state, there is a very strict William Gore interpretation of what constitute good cause. Which varies widely around the state. And other counties like Sacramento, self-defense is accepted as good cause. There much more relaxed with their restrictions. So the interpretations of the statewide regulations are different in each county. How different are they? Does the difference between San Diego and Sacramento result in a lot more people being able to carry concealed weapons Sacramento? Yes. So right now there are little bit more than 70,000 concealed permit carrier holders in the state. Half of them are clustered into 7 counties. Then you compare that to a place like semper Cisco County, which is even more restrictive than San Diego. And you have 2. So it varies by Sheriff and how these sheriffs in these counties few the second amendment and how strict they want to interpret this could cause requirement. And the other requirement is that the applicant be of good moral character. Both of those are subject to wide discretion. When we talk about strict -- restrictors concealed carry permit requirements, especially in San Diego, what does that mean? What did the county require for someone to get a concealed carry gun permit? The county in San Diego required what many others to in the state. The applicant needs to be significantly outside the norm. That is the have a specific documented reason to fear for their safety. Just claiming self-defense was not enough in the eyes of shareholding for. What did the original three-judge panel who didn't agree, what did they rule on those requirements. What's the legal basis? The three-judge panel last year, did not agree with that at all. They found that between Sacramento's strict interpretation of what constitutes good cause, combined with the states general prohibition. There are a few exceptions. But the open carry of gun were no permit is required. They found it amounted to a destruction of the second amendment so they've ruled in favor of the plaintiff. In voting in favor of that, the idea was that a person with no criminal record, a law-abiding citizen so to speak, should be able to go in and claim that I want to use a concealed carry weapon for self-defense if the need should arise and that they should be given a permit. Yes that is right. If they are eligible for permit, they should be able to carry a gun for self-defense one way or another. Whether it is concealed or open. Essentially means you cannot block completely, access to a person's ability to have a gun for self-defense. Got it. Let me go to Robert. On the ninth circuit panel overturned San Diego's concealed carry policy laughter, Sheriff for said he would not appeal the decision so how did it end up back at the Ninth Circuit? It ended up because state in overturning the district court. The initial ninth circuit panel, basically called into question the constitutionality of the state statute. Which as indicated by Matt, requires you have good cause in order to obtain a CCW. So when the call into question the constitutionality of the state statute, the state needs opportunities come in defendant statute. Address something said earlier, they said this was Sheriff Gore policy on whether or not to issue CCW. In reality, Sheriff Gore is following the direction of the department of justice in terms of what is being required. When Matt said that the sheriff is requiring something more than just being able to say self-defense, and writing those two words down to get a CCW. That actually has a Genesis in the sheriff's department that was around before Sheriff Gore was the sheriff. In that regard, when you fill out an application it is a state Department of Justice application and in that 13 page application, it has some verbiage. What it says is, if the CCW license is desired for self protection for self-defense, the protection of others, or for the protection of large sums of money or property, you are required to explain and provide good cause for the issuance of the license. For example, has your life, property or the such been threatened. Explain incidents, dates, times, and names of please agencies as to which these were reported. As you see, Sheriff Gore did not create this self defense law, he is following what was set forth would DOJ and their view under the laws that existed. Apparently and Sacramento if you just leave that blank, you are still able to qualify for a concealed carry weapons permit. Right, and I cannot speak to how the different 58 Sheriff's throughout the state interpret that. But from the Sheriff's Department's perspective, we have followed the guidelines set forth in the application. Is the San Diego Sheriff's Department taking an active part in this case as it goes before the fall 8 circuit? Not an active part in a sense that the Sheriff's name is attached to it. This Mr. Pruitt applied here. But the reality is that Sheriff Gore looks at this in basically a civic minded perspective. That is, when you go back to your civics class, there are 3 branches of government. It's the legislators job to make the laws. It is the judiciary job to interpret them. It is his job as a member of the executive branch to enforce them. So what we really have here is Mr. Pruitt saying, I have an issue with the interpretation of what it means to have good cause that is set forth by the legislator. It's the job of the judiciary to define it. If there is some confusion over, the sheriff is pretty good direction from . So he's not choosing a position on one side of the other. Is looking for direction on how to go forward under the scheme that the legislator is set forward. Paul, let me bring you into this conversation. View of Representative. Edward Ruta, you tell us why he wanted to carry a concealed weapon? He felt strongly that the second amendment was being trampled on a California. He had a concealed weapons permit to a number of states, he would is a fair about six months after your travel back and forth between hearing Connecticut . on the way in the motorhome, he was careful and worried about being threatened. He was also a reporter with his own independent news agency doing online Internet reporting. He would often and times be a first responder for reporting and rural areas. Because they should have the opportunity to have a sealed since weapons permit is a lot of these were crime stories and he was there before law enforcement was. So even with those reasons, would he be denied therefore a weapons permit here in San Diego? He was denied, that was the reason that caused the filing of this in federal court. The counties in California, surprisingly, the majority that have a personal protection exception would be rural counties. The smaller counties that are out there further, are not going to be as stringent as Sam Cisco, San Mateo, LA, San Diego. So this was world by a three-member panel of the ninth circuit court of appeals last year. The San Diego requirements were basically overturned and San Diego decided not to appeal. So are you surprised that this case is now being reviewed by the full panel of 9th Circut No, because of the fact that the state of California wanted to become involved. I was saying that this didn't question it whatsoever. It didn't follow up on it . but I'm not surprised that California did not get involved with it. So many interested parties and other states were involved in it. Each one with their own agenda as far as this ruling should go down. Was it part of your argument that states cannot regulate how people are given concealed carry gun permits? No, because states can regulate those. You should have some good moral character, people who can pass background checks and don't have mental infirmities. The issue was the subjective interpretation by individual Sheriff's or individual staff. So that instead of an objective approach was being used statewide to give everyone an even playing field on the issuance of the permits, it was being handled so haphazardly, there was no uniformity on it took Robert, I know the sheriff's department is not taking a stand, but it is well-known that law enforcement and officers are not big advocate of people walking around carrying concealed weapons. Have you had any feeling from the sheriff's department or the deputies that they would like to see our restrictive measures, so to speak, same place? I have not. In fact I think that several of our deputies have recognized that they probably don't get affected as much. Police officers and they carry firearms. But in terms of whether or not they think individually is a good thing or bad thing, it is hard to say. It does make it, the argument is it could make it more difficult with more people caring CCW when we contact individuals on the street. On the flipside, we train our deputies to approach people safely and think that they could potentially be armed when we contact them. So take precaution. It doesn't affect how we deal on a day-to-day basis. But it affects how people care should this decision change. Here in San Diego I am in court on a daily basis. The sheriff deputies there are always approached on this case. They seem to be supportive of a more open than application issuance of concealed weapons. We've had a number of Sheriff's and police nationwide who joined in and support of the position before that night back -- [ Indiscernible ] if this second amendment right to bear arms that has been basically affirmed by the US Supreme Court in the home, also extends to the right to carry weapons outside of the home? We were discussing that. I believe everyone has agreed that the second amendment does extend outside of the home. So that's really not being contested by any parties at this time. Is going to be the application of the uniform process of second amendment right outside the home that we will be dealing with in the future. Matt all bring you back into this conversation. Oral arguments at theyesterday did you get any indication how this panel will vote or did you hear any give-and-take between the attorneys that was particularly memorable I did not get an indication of how they will vote. Many of them were not involved most of them are coming to this case relatively fresh. I was remarking to some people in the courtroom. It appears that some of the questions and all the judges read through these briefs in the way that Jim and the attorney for Sheriff Gore put it. 30 minutes of arguments is not going to change anybody's mind. Is going to be decided on everything that was filed in court. That's what's going to decide this case. Everything on paper. I have heard that a lot of people think case is headed to the US Supreme Court? Ways that? It very well could. It has the best chance most people agree of any lawsuit that involves the second amendment. The reason is twofold. The Supreme Court almost never hear second amendment cases. Blasphemous 2000 tablet reaffirmed a ruling that affirm the second amendment get people the right to own a gun inside the home. This case it applies outside the home with concealed carry weapons. So the question now is, if there's going to be a significant enough split to the very circuit court set of world on this. Through other circuit courts have upheld laws similar to California. So it depends on what this ninth circuit does. They uphold their initial decision any people feel the Supreme Court is going to check it up just to see if this applies to outside of the home and what's good enough cause to carry a weapon. -Speaking with Matt for the center of investigative reporting. Robert Fagan from the San Diego Sheriff's County department and Paul, the plaintiffs attorney. Thank you all very much.

There is no evidence that crime goes up in places where concealed weapons permits are issued more freely, an attorney told a federal appeals court on Tuesday.

Paul Clement represents San Diego County residents who were denied a permit by the sheriff on the grounds that they had failed to show good cause beyond self-defense.

The self-defense standard should be sufficient, and asking for more violates the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, Clement told the 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel will decide the long-running court battle that could dramatically loosen restrictions on carrying concealed firearms in California.


"The one thing I don't think it can be is that you only get to show good cause if you show you have a better reason for the firearm than your fellow citizen when it comes to self-defense," Clement said.

California Solicitor General Edward DuMont said there was a long and rich tradition of restricting concealed weapons in cities and towns. "The 2nd Amendment does not confer a right to concealed carry of handguns, especially in cities and towns," he said.

A smaller 9th Circuit panel sided with gun-rights advocates in a 2-1 decision last year, saying requiring applicants to show they were in immediate danger or otherwise had a "good cause" for a permit beyond self-defense was too restrictive.

California officials sought to intervene in the case after the San Diego sheriff declined to appeal. California generally prohibits people from carrying handguns in public without a concealed-weapons permit. To get the permit, state law requires applicants to show good moral character, have good cause and take a training course. It's largely up to the state's sheriffs and police chiefs to determine what constitutes "good cause."

In San Diego, the sheriff required supporting documents such as restraining orders, according to court documents.


Judge Consuelo Maria Callahan questioned why the panel should allow the state to intervene in the case after it failed to do so earlier.

"No one seems to want to weigh in on these political issues as it were," she said. "Why isn't it too late?"

DuMont said the case has broad implications for the entire state that didn't seem to be at stake when the case was being considered by a lower court.

California officials say loosening concealed weapons permitting standards and allowing more people to carry guns threatens law enforcement officials and endangers the public.

But Clement said there was no evidence that the "sky fell" and crime went up in counties such as Fresno and Sacramento that have more permissive "good cause" standards.

Other federal appellate courts have upheld discretionary permitting policies for concealed weapons such as those used by the Yolo and San Diego County sheriffs, and the 11-judge panel is likely to do the same, said Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. But the U.S. Supreme Court has not taken up the issue.

"This is a big question that people have been asking, 'Can you limit people's rights to have guns on the street?' " he said.

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