The gun rights movement was delivered a setback Thursday when an appeals court based out of San Francisco said there was no Second Amendment right for a member of the public to carry a concealed weapon in a decision upholding a California firearm restriction.
“As the uncontradicted historical evidence overwhelmingly shows, the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the right of a member of the general public to carry a concealed weapon in public,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said in its opinion. In a 7-4 vote, it upheld the previous ruling of a three-judge panel of the appeals court, which had been appealed to the full court.
“The Second Amendment may or may not protect to some degree a right of a member of the general public to carry a firearm in public. If there is such a right, it is only a right to carry a firearm openly,” the opinion said. “But Plaintiffs do not challenge California’s restrictions on open carry; they challenge only restrictions on concealed carry.”
The opinion noted the question of open carry had not been answered by the Supreme Court.
The case was brought by gun owners in California who had sought concealed carry licenses. The gun owners were allegedly denied licenses because they did not meet the state’s requirements, namely that they had “good cause” to carry a concealed firearm, under policies written by county sheriffs.
The challengers said the policy violated their Second Amendment rights, an argument the appeals court rejected.
The appeals court covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The decision was in line with rulings in the appeals courts of the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits, but contradicted a ruling in the Seventh Circuit, according to the Wall Street Journal.