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San Diego sheriff won't appeal 9th Circuit ruling on concealed guns

Laws and LegislationCrime, Law and JusticeCourts and the JudiciaryUnrest, Conflicts and WarJustice SystemLos Angeles County Sheriff's Department

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore has decided not to request the full U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a ruling, involving his department, that struck down the state's law on issuing concealed weapons permits.

That means that if there is to be an appeal to the ruling of a three-judge panel, it will have to come from the state attorney general or another judge on the appeals court, said James Chapin, senior deputy county counsel for San Diego County.

Chapin said that he inquired of the state attorney general's office and was told that the issue is "under review."

In a 2-to-1 decision, the panel ruled that the concealed weapons permit law, as administered by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, was too restrictive and violated the 2nd Amendment. At issue was the department's requirement that applicants show "good cause" why they need to carry a concealed weapon outside their home. That requirement is in addition to a background check and a showing of "good moral character."

Since the panel's ruling, the sheriff's departments in Ventura and Orange counties have loosened their requirements for such weapons, in effect, dropping the "good cause" but sticking with the background check and "good moral character."

Gore, however, has opted to stick with his department's rules, noting that the ruling is not yet final. Applicants who meet all requirements will be issued a permit. Applicants who do not will not have their application rejected but will have it held in abeyance until the court ruling is final, Gore said.

Successful applicants must also pass a firearms safety course. "This process can take several months," Gore said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has made a similar decision not to change its requirements while the issue is still before the legal system.

The panel's ruling was hailed by 2nd Amendment advocates but criticized by groups favoring regulations limiting the availability of guns.

In many states the law says that a sheriff "shall" issue a concealed weapon permit. In California, the law says that a sheriff "may" issue such a permit. Second Amendment advocates say that California's law is too restrictive; the lawsuit against the San Diego County Sheriff's Department was filed on behalf of applicants who believe they were unfairly rejected.

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