California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review and reverse a decision striking down a San Diego County permit process that restricted the right of individuals to carry concealed weapons.
In a 2-1 decision, the panel found that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects not only the right of individuals to own guns but also the right to carry them for the purposes of self-defense.
Harris said that state law currently gives local law enforcement discretion over the final permit decision, a discretion that would be eliminated by the court's decision.
"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," she said in a statement Thursday.
Harris' decision to appeal drew praise from gun control advocates. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a brief in support of Harris request for a review of the case before a larger panel of judges.
"By filing this brief, the Law Center is sending the Ninth Circuit a clear message: Do not allow the radical decision of two judges to overturn decades of California law that helps law enforcement prevent gun violence," said Cody Jacobs, a staff attorney with the center.
Jacobs noted that similar cases challenging concealed weapons permitting systems in other parts of the country have been rejected by federal appellate courts.
The court cited two recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in making its decision. The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the right to bear arms applies to individuals, as opposed to only state-run militias, and concluded in 2010 that the right can be enforced against state and local governments.
The 9th Circuit decision argued that the precedent set in those two cases means that California must allow law-abiding citizens the option to carry firearms outside the home for the purposes of self-defense, whether by allowing open or concealed carry.
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