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Supreme Court Won't Hear Handgun Case

Continuing a guarded approach to the Second Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court turned away a case that said people need "good cause" for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public.

The Court left intact Peruta v. County of San Diego, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said "there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public." As a result, most Californians will have a hard time getting concealed weapons permits.

Gun advocates promptly decried the High Court's action, just as they did when the Ninth Circuit ruled on the case. Justice Clarence Thomas, joined in dissent by Justice Neil Gorsuch, said the Supreme Court should have taken up the appeal.

"Marbled Halls, Guarded"

"For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous," Thomas wrote.

"But the Framers made a clear choice: they reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense. I do not think we should stand by idly while a state denies its citizens that right, particularly when their lives may depend on it."

The Ninth Circuit case came from San Diego, where residents challenged the local sheriff's decision not to issue concealed weapons permits under a state law. The law requires a showing of "good cause," and the sheriff said fear alone is not enough.

The appeals court agreed, saying that "any prohibition or restriction a state may choose to impose on concealed carry -- including the requirement of 'good cause,' however defined -- is necessarily allowed by the Amendment."

Gun Laws Trending

According to reports, six states have laws similar to California's. Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island require gun owners to provide a particular reason for a concealed weapons permit -- general "self-defense" is not sufficient.

In the District of Columbia, the federal appeals court upheld a local law that likewise required "good cause" for a concealed carry permit. It continued an apparent trend in the nation, leaving the issue to local governments.

The Supreme Court issued its last major decision on the Second Amendment in 2008, ruling that citizens have a right to keep a handgun at home for self-defense. However, the Court has turned back five dozen gun cases since then.

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