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Last month, a Ninth Circuit panel held that the Second Amendment requires the state to allow its citizens to both "keep" and "bear" arms. In plain English, that meant that California had to either allow concealed or open carry in public. Currently, the state leaves it up to local law enforcement agencies' discretion as to whether a person has demonstrated sufficient need for a concealed carry permit. The City and County of San Diego, the defendants in the case, declined to appeal the panel's ruling.
Well concealed carry advocates, you might want to hold off on purchasing that compact pistol with an internal hammer and Triton sights, because California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced late last week that the state is seeking to intervene in the case in order to defend the current "may issue" system.
On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris reached out to the Ninth Circuit, via a motion to intervene, seeking en banc rehearing, even though the state is not a party to the case.
"Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon," Attorney General Harris said in a press release. "I will do everything possible to restore law enforcement's authority to protect public safety, and so today am calling on the court to review and reverse its decision."
Chuck Michel, an attorney who handles the National Rifle Association's West Coast litigation, told the San Jose Mercury-News that Harris and the state were repeatedly invited to take part in the litigation and declined, leaving San Diego to handle the defense.
"But now that her ideological ox is being gored, she wants to step in and take the state authority away from the sheriff," Michel told the Mercury-News. "The authority to issue or not issue licenses to carry under state law rests with the sheriff -- he acts for the state of California in this case, not the Attorney General's Office. She can't step in here and bigfoot the state actor with the authority to make that decision."
We'll see if the Ninth Circuit agrees. The appeals court can also choose rehear the case en banc sua sponte. Any decision on a rehearing must come before Friday, March 7.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.