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California conceal carry gun rights case dealt another setback

A developing trend in California courtrooms has purveyors of the Second Amendment up in arms- in order to protect oneself outside their domicile gun owners must pass muster with county Sheriff Departments, according to a federal judge.

Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England in Sacramento, CA ruled that Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto indeed had the right to choose who qualifies for conceal carry gun permits. The judge explained there was nothing unlawful about requesting applicants to prove they have a reasonable need to carry a weapon outside their home.

The reasonable need is often referred to as “good moral character” and it gives Sheriff Departments a lot of latitude in the decision making process. Typically “good moral character” scenarios include courtroom prosecutors, businessmen who carry large sums of money, victims of “stalker-like crimes” and security-related employees.

Yolo County Sheriff Prieto, who has 43 years of law enforcement experience, commented on the decision made in the Sacramento courtroom yesterday. “I think the judge made a good decision. The Second Amendment really does not give anybody the right to conceal carry a weapon. It really comes down to the safety of our community.”

Judge England, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, also pointed out in his 16-page decision that there is a California law already on the books that allows most California residents to carry an unloaded weapon with them at all times (excluding school zones), and that these firearms could quickly be loaded to use in case of an emergency.

This was little consolation to gun rights groups who hired Alan Gura, a Second Amendment attorney from Alexandria, VA who focuses on these types of cases. Gura plans to appeal Judge England’s ruling to the very liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals located in San Francisco, CA.

“Obviously it doesn’t do anyone any good to walk around with an unloaded gun, especially in public, because that’s just an advertisement for a criminal to take it off your person,” Gura explained. “They’re not going to have time to start loading their handgun. Criminal events usually play out more quickly than that.”

However the judge disagreed with Gura’s arguments. “Regulating concealed firearms is an essential part of Yolo County’s efforts to maintain public safety and prevent both gun-related crime and, most importantly, the death of its citizens. Yolo County’s policy is more than rationally related to these legitimate government goals,” England said in his ruling.

Also there is a substantial effort underway in Sacramento to reverse the “open carry” law in California. Democrat State Assemblyman, La Canada Flintridge introduced AB144, which bans residents from openly carrying a firearm, passed yesterday in the State Assembly. If signed by liberal Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, gun owners would completely lose their ability to carry firearms outside their homes.
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This hasn’t been the first effort to ban “open carry” weapons, last year Democrat State Assemblywoman Lori Saldana’s bill AD-76 failed to pass during a lame duck session.

Reacting to yesterday’s ruling, Marc Halcon, President of California Association of Firearms Retailers put it this way; “One of the most fundamental rights we have as citizens of this country is the right to feel safe and secure, not only in our homes but within our community. Although I question the logic of carrying an ‘unloaded’ firearm, I understand the concern of some of our lawmakers. This entire situation would be solved in a matter of minutes if the State of California would follow the vast majority of the other states and allow for the ‘shall issue’ provision for law abiding citizens to carry a concealed weapon. A secondary benefit would be an increase in State revenue generated by the fees and tax’s associated with allowing a ‘shall issue’ licensing process for law abiding citizens.”

More cases are working their way through federal courts

There is also another conceal carry gun case making its way through the California court system.

The crux of this case centers on the “shall issue” versus the “may issue” status that the state of California doesn’t adhere to equally throughout the state’s 58 counties. The lead plaintiff, Edward Peruta argues he has been wrongfully declined a Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit in San Diego. Peruta says that he has permits to openly carry a concealed firearm in three other states and has several letters of recommendations as well as other information to provide “good cause” that was rejected by the San Diego Sheriff Department CCW investigation.

“Every resident, taxpayer and voter of San Diego County should be outraged that the Sheriff offers the right to bear arms for “SELF DEFENSE” to the prominent, wealthy and/or well connected while refusing the same right to the average everyday hard-working law abiding residents of San Diego County,” Peruta said.

The end result was similar to the Yolo County lawsuit and Southern District of California Judge Erma Gonzalez ruled against the gun-rights groups and Peruta.

“The Second Amendment law is currently like a child who is learning to walk and the issue remains unsettled across the country and it will take time for all the cases to work their way through the courts in order to be settled,” Peruta said.

At the San Diego hearing in Federal Court, San Diego Attorney Paul Neuharth together with the Los Angeles County firm of Attorney Chuck Michel threw words out like “licensing schemes” and “preferential treatment” as to how the County of San Diego conducts business with regards to the CCW application process.

Read the complete ruling here; 16-page ruling

For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/

© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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