A federal appeals court struck down key parts of California’s permit system for handguns on Thursday, ruling that the state must allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms in public.
In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that by requiring citizens to prove “good cause” — rather than just the right to self-defense — in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit, San Diego County is in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. If the decision stands, the permit system for the entire state of California would be invalidated, the Washington Post reports.
California state law also requires gun owners who apply for a concealed weapons permit to show “good cause” as to why they want to carry a firearm. The permit process would still be left up to individual cities and counties if the ruling holds.
In the majority opinion, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain said the “right to bear arms includes the right to carry an operable firearm outside the home for the lawful purpose of self-defense.”
Further increasing the chances that the Supreme Court will take on the issue, O’Scannlain disagreed with federal appeals courts that have upheld nearly identical laws in left-leaning states like New York, New Jersey and Maryland, SFGate reports. The high court generally tackled issues when there is a significant split among appellate circuits, as there is in this case.
“The high court ruled in 2008 that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep a handgun in the home for self-defense, but has not addressed its application to carrying weapons in public,” the report adds.