Want to Get a Gun under New Orange County Concealed Weapon Laws? Just Say Self-Defense
Following a recent decision in federal court, the rules behind Orange County concealed weapon laws have relaxed regarding carrying a concealed weapon in public.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that residents in California are no longer required to demonstrate a particular, individualized need for protection when applying for concealed weapons permits with California counties.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which grants licenses to Orange County residents lawfully permitted to carry and possess a firearm, has changed its policies in accordance with the court’s ruling.
What was the Court Case that Challenged California’s Concealed Weapons Laws?
The Court explained in its decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego that the Second Amendment right to carry a licensed firearm for lawful self-defense be considered “good cause” under the California statute providing for the issuance of concealed carry permits.1
In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit defined the issue as “whether a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.” In so doing, the Ninth Circuit took an extensive look at what it means to “bear arms.”2
The Ninth Circuit determined that the Second Amendment requires states to allow carrying of a firearm for self-defense outside the home.
Chuck Michel, a lawyer representing gun owners in the Ninth Circuit, told the LA Times, “I am thrilled that the sheriff has seen the writing on the wall and recognized that Orange County citizens should have the right to choose to carry a firearm to protect themselves.”3
How has this Ruling Affected Orange County Concealed Weapon Laws?
Residents of Orange County interested in filing an initial or renewal application to carry a concealed weapon need only state that their reason for requesting a concealed weapon license is for “self-defense” or “personal safety.” No other “good cause” is required as was previously mandated under California law.
Prior to the court’s decision and according to the California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms standard application for carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) license, an applicant was required to demonstrate the following:
“If the CCW license is desired for self-protection, the protection of others, or for the protection of large sums of money or valuable property, you are required to explain and provide good cause for issuance of the license. For example, has your life or property been threatened or jeopardized? Explain incidents and include dates, times, locations, and names of police agencies to which these incidents were reported.”4
Other conditions must still be met in order for a concealed weapons permit to be granted in Orange County. Those conditions include an interview, background check, completion of a firearms training course and a fee.
Due to the change in Orange County’s concealed weapon laws, requests for concealed weapons permits are now backing up, Orange County officials have stated. Interviews required for processing a concealed weapons license are being scheduled well into May.5
The time for initial and renewal application processing of a carrying a concealed weapon license is expected to lengthen as a result of the Sheriff’s relaxation of the rules. The process already takes Orange County residents many months to complete before a license may be granted.
In addition to Orange County, many other counties have loosened the rules that give permits to residents who simply state their need for doing so is for self-defense.
Will the Ninth Circuit Court’s Ruling Be Appealed?
The Sheriff of San Diego recently issued a press release stating that his office will not seek review of the Peruta decision by the Ninth Circuit. However, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was not specifically addressed.
If San Diego officials do not seek a writ of certiorari – the process required to request review at the U.S. Supreme Court level – the Ninth Circuit’s ruling will stand and its decision in this matter will be final in mid-March.
1. [Los Angeles Times: “Orange County loosens requirements for carrying concealed guns;” http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-concealed-weapons-20140221,0,1864878.story#axzz2u0koew9O]↩
2. [The Washington Post: “San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Press Release:San Diego Sheriff’s Decision Regarding Ninth Circuit’s Opinion on CCWs, February 21, 2014;” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/02/21/san-diego-sheriff-will-not-seek-9th-circuit-en-banc-in-peruta-right-to-carry-case/
3. [Los Angeles Times: “Orange County loosens requirements for carrying concealed weapons;” http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-concealed-weapons-20140221,0,1864878.story#axzz2u0koew9O]↩
4. [Orange County Sheriff’s Department website: California Department of Justice, Bureau of Firearms “Standard Initial and Renewal Application for License to Carry a Concealed Weapon;” http://ocsd.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=31601]↩
5. [Los Angeles Times: “Orange County loosens requirements for carrying concealed weapons;” http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-concealed-weapons-20140221,0,1864878.story#axzz2u0koew9O]↩