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Editorial: There’s no 2nd Amendment right to carry a concealed gun

(Associated Press)

In a welcome boost for those who believe that guns should be strictly regulated, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in Peruta vs. County of San Diego that the 2nd Amendment does not confer a right to carry a concealed weapon outside the home and that California sheriffs and police chiefs can require people to show “good cause” before issuing them concealed-carry permits.

California’s gun laws bar people from openly carrying firearms and, in the case of concealed weapons, leave it up to sheriffs and police chiefs to set the criteria for what clears that “good cause” hurdle. In San Diego and Yolo counties, where the Peruta lawsuit was brought, concealed-carry permits are generally issued only to people under documented threat of attack (such as people who have restraining orders against an abuser) or whose occupation puts them at risk (such as business owners who carry large amounts of cash). Other counties, including Los Angeles, have similar restrictions.

This decision is a good one that affirms the rights of states and municipalities to impose reasonable gun control laws. The Supreme Court is not expected to accept an appeal.

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In recent years, the Supreme Court has had a mixed record on gun control issues. In 2008, it ruled in District of Columbia et al. vs. Heller that Americans have a 2nd Amendment right to keep guns in their homes for self-protection. That decision improperly upended the longstanding interpretation of the 2nd Amendment “well-regulated militia” clause that limited the right to keep and bear arms to organized military units. But the court also ruled that the right to bear arms was not absolute and that government could regulate firearms.

Thursday’s appellate court ruling overturns a 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel that the “good cause” requirement unconstitutionally restricts a law-abiding citizen’s right to bear arms. But the 9th Circuit said the issue here is more focused and that there is nothing in the 2nd Amendment to suggest a right to walk around with a hidden weapon. They’ll get no dissent on that from us.

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