Gun rights advocates are claiming victory after a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Yolo County was wrong to deny concealed and carry permits.
In 2011, a district court upheld Yolo County's policy that anyone wanting a permit to carry a concealed handgun had to show "good cause." Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that policy unconstitutional, which follows a similar ruling in San Diego County.
In 2009, the CalGuns Foundation sued both Sacramento and Yolo counties, joining other plaintiffs who were refused concealed carry permits because their reasons for wanting to carry a gun did not meet what's known as a "good cause" standard. That policy didn't allow people to get a permit simply for self defense. They had to show good cause, which, under this policy, could be a subjective call.
"They were turned down for arbitrary reasons simply because they could not show good cause even though there were no guidelines to determine what good cause meant," CalGuns spokesperson Craig DeLuz said.
The case against Sacramento County was dismissed after it changed its policy to a less restrictive one, but litigation continued against Yolo County. Judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the gun rights advocates, writing "the Yolo County policy impermissibly infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense."
"What this case now does is it says that an elected official, in this case a county sheriff, can't just arbitrarily decide who should get a concealed carry permit and who shouldn't, but they're going to actually have to have specific guidelines, and if you meet those guidelines, then you should be issued a concealed weapons permit," DeLuz said.
Now, many gun rights advocates hope this case along with a similar decision in San Diego County will pave the way for a statewide standard for concealed weapons permits.
"This is a huge victory, but we also know that it's just one step in the process," DeLuz said.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has said she will fight the San Diego County decision. She has argued that local law enforcement should be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon, and vowed to do everything possible to restore law enforcement's authority.