Appeals Court: No Right to Carry Concealed

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According to a new ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Second Amendment to the Constitution does not guarantee Americans the right to carry concealed. In a 7-4 decision, the court upheld the current state of the law in California, which requires permit applicants to demonstrate “good cause” before being granted the right to carry a concealed weapon in public.

“We hold that the Second Amendment does not preserve or protect a right of a member of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public,” wrote Judge William Fletcher in the majority opinion.

Gun rights groups are bound to challenge the decision, possibly leading to a showdown at the Supreme Court.

At issue is not necessarily the constitutionality of concealed carry itself, but whether or not states have the right to foreclose any possible right to bear arms. This is of crucial concern in a state like California, where open carry is forbidden. When citizens are required to show officials that they are in imminent danger before being permitted to carry concealed, the practical result is that millions of gun owners have no way of legally arming themselves in public.

“In the context of present-day California law, the Defendant counties’ limited licensing of the right to carry concealed firearms is tantamount to a total ban on the right of an ordinary citizen to carry a firearm in public for self-defense,” wrote dissenting Judge Consuelo Callahan.

This is where the rubber meets the road – where jurisprudence meets reality. It’s one thing to sit on the bench and pontificate on the specific intent of the Constitution’s founders as it relates to concealed carry. It’s one thing to pore over case law, which shows a clear history of agreement on a central point: That lawmakers are within their constitutional rights to restrict the unlimited right to bear arms.

But it’s quite another to weave together a tapestry of gun control laws and rulings that, when taken as a whole, result in a de facto ban on firearms. If California residents aren’t allowed to carry openly…and they aren’t allowed to carry concealed except in special circumstance…it’s hard to see the total situation as anything other than a flagrant violation of the Second Amendment.