California judges to hear concealed carry appeal

A federal appeals court in San Francisco announced Thursday that a special 11-judge panel will reconsider whether counties can restrict the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the expanded panel will review two decisions in which a three-judge panel of the court last year struck down concealed-carry restrictions in San Diego and Yolo counties. The court said the 11-judge panel will hear arguments on the two cases during the week of June 15, on a date to be announced later.

A California law requires gun owners to show “good cause” in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed gun. Counties have the authority to set their own policies interpreting the state law. In San Diego and Yolo counties, the sheriffs required individuals to prove they were in exceptional danger to obtain a permit.

The rules were challenged in civil rights lawsuits by gun rights advocates. In February 2014, an appeals court panel struck down the San Diego restrictions by a 2-1 vote, saying that the policy violated the constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.

In March 2014, the same panel unanimously overturned the Yolo County rule. The panel said it was bound by the previous decision in the San Diego County case. The expanded panel will be made up of Chief Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, who cast the dissenting vote in the San Diego County decision, and 10 other randomly chosen judges from the 29-member court. The names of the remaining judges will be announced at a later date.