The Ninth Circuit ruled that a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.
The plaintiffs, represented by NTL member Paul Neuharth, Jr. of San Diego, challenged a County of San Diego policy that restricted carrying handguns in public. California generally prohibits the open or concealed carriage of a handgun, whether loaded or unloaded, in public locations, absent the showing of "good cause." Under San Diego’s policy, concern for one’s personal safety alone is not considered good cause.
Reversing the district court’s summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit ruled that a law-abiding citizen’s ability to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense fell within the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. The court concluded that San Diego County’s “good cause” permitting requirement impermissibly infringed on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.
Plaintiffs Edward Peruta, Michelle Laxson, James Dodd, Leslie Buncher, and Mark Cleary were either denied concealed-carry licenses because they could not establish “good cause” or decided not to apply, confident that their mere desire to carry for self-defense would fall short of establishing good cause as the County defined it.
Peruta sued the County of San Diego and its sheriff, William Gore, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, requesting injunctive and declaratory relief from the enforcement of the County policy’s interpretation of “good cause.” Peruta’s lead argument was that, by denying him the ability to carry a loaded handgun for self-defense, the County infringed his right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
The case is Peruta v. County of San Diego, No. 10-56971.