Supreme Court Refuses to Rule on California’s Concealed Handgun Law

For the second straight year, the U.S Supreme Court has refused to hear a case challenging California’s restrictions on carrying handguns in public.

The lawsuit in question this year is an appeal of a lower court ruling that upholds a sheriff’s refusal to issue a permit to gun owners James Rothery and Andrea Hoffman. The two Sacramento residents asserted that they were unfairly denied permits to carry a gun in public places. 

State law bars people from carrying a loaded, concealed firearm outside of their home. However, California is a “may-issue state,” which means local sheriffs can grant concealed gun permits to people who show good cause: Applicants must be of good moral character, undergo a background check, prove why they need a firearm, complete a safety course and meet a residency requirement.

In this case, Rothery and Hoffman had sued the state and Sacramento County in 2008, calling the process for gaining a permit “arbitrary and capricious,” and declaring that it violated their right to bear arms guaranteed under the Second Amendment.

By announcing their refusal to hear this case on November 5, the Supreme Court left in place a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2017, which upheld the state’s limits on carrying weapons.

The Court last ruled on gun rights in 2010, and it has declined to take up any gun cases since then — which is good news for those of us who want to see more action to prevent gun violence

California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the U.S., and Governor Jerry Brown  signed several more into law at the end of September, as one of his last acts as governor. They included a law raising the minimum age for the purchase of a gun from 18 to 21, a bill similar to the one signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott after the Parkland shooting last February.

Given that mass shootings are tragically common, you might expect that like California, all states would limit the legal right of people to carry firearms.

Quite the opposite. 

I was shocked to discover that, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, most states used to have strict regulations on carrying guns in public, but these laws have considerably weakened over the past three decades.

Astonishingly, federal law has no restrictions on the open carrying of guns in public places. The only exceptions can be on property owned or operated by the federal government, which in some cases is subject to specific rules.

The Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence gives a summary of state laws on carrying handguns:

Five states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and South Carolina), and the District of Columbia generally prohibit people from openly carrying handguns in public places. Thirty-one states allow the open carrying of a handgun without any license or permit, although in some cases the gun must be unloaded. Fifteen states require some form of license or permit in order to openly carry a handgun.

You can find out what the rules are in your state by clicking here.

Six states — California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Jersey — and the District of Columbia ban the open carry of long guns, like rifles and shotguns. In the other 44 states, it’s perfectly legal to be in public with a long gun. Only Iowa, Tennessee and Utah require the long gun to be unloaded.

Thus, in the vast majority of U.S. states, individuals can legally carry a loaded gun in public without the need for a permit.

Take Action!

If you too are appalled by the amount of gun violence and the lax rules around gun ownership in the U.S., please sign this Care2 petition demanding that the U.S. Congress ban assault weapons, whose only purpose is to kill a lot of people quickly.

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

8 comments

Hannah K
Hannah K4 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

See the Onion which runs the exact same headline and story after every mass shooting in America.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

nobody needs these weapons, certainly not in a public place.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara4 days ago

dreadful

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 days ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M5 days ago

Thanks.

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Susanne R
Susanne R5 days ago

According to "The Hill" - 11/05/18:

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the case. The court held the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the carrying of concealed firearms by members of the general public."

The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case keeps that ruling in place. The Supreme Court ruled by not ruling.

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris5 days ago

Petition signed.

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