Supreme Court lets concealed gun law stand

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday left in place a California law that limits the carrying of concealed guns.

The court declined to hear an appeal by a group of San Diego gun owners who claimed the law violated their constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The gun owners were appealing a decision in which a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the state law by a 7-4 vote last year.

The appeals court majority said the Second Amendment “simply does not extend to the carrying of concealed firearms in public by members of the public.”

The Supreme Court’s denial of a hearing leaves the appeals court ruling as the final decision in the case.

The California law provides that citizens must obtain a permit from their county sheriff to carry a hidden gun and must be of good moral character and have “good cause” to obtain a permit.

The measure gives sheriffs wide discretion to determine good cause and the requirements vary from county to county. Some counties grant permits to law-abiding gun owners on demand, but San Diego County applicants must prove they are in exceptional danger.

The gun owners’ appeal was turned down by a 7-2 vote of the Supreme Court. The court majority did not comment, but Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch joined in a dissent in which they said the court should have taken the case.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose office defended the law, called the Supreme Court’s action “welcome news for California and gun safety everywhere.”

He said in a statement:

“It leaves in place an important and common-sense firearm regulation, one that promotes public safety, respects Second Amendment rights and values the judgment of sheriffs and police chiefs throughout the state on what works best for their communities.”