Tag Archives: Conceal Carry

Second Amendment case Peruta vs. California may be heading to Supreme Court

erwin chemerinsky

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky: No right to have concealed weapons

If this does make it to the Supreme Court, I’m certainly hoping for an outcome which favors legal firearm owners.

From Fox News: The Second Amendment is only 27 words, but Americans have used millions of words arguing over what it means. It guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” But which people, what arms, and under what circumstances?
Two milestone cases involving the Second Amendment that reached the Supreme Court are District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), declaring an individual has a right to own a firearm, and McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), affirming the Second Amendment applies to state law.
Now, if the Supreme Court decides to hear it, there may be a third major case in a decade: Peruta v. California.
At issue is the right to keep and bear arms outside the home. The Heller case specifically applies to situations within the home. Those who have petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case are hoping the justices will see it as a logical extension of their earlier opinions.
The case arose when Edward Peruta and other gun owners who lived in or near San Diego, Calif., couldn’t get concealed-carry permits in their county. The Sheriff’s Department handles permit requests and requires “good cause” to carry a gun outside of the home. This does not mean a generalized concern for safety, but something specific, such as fear of domestic violence or a regular need to move large amounts of money.
There were two separate lawsuits challenging the interpretation of “good cause,” but the district courts found no violation of the Second Amendment.
Then, in 2014, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the policy did indeed violate the right to bear arms for self-defense. The state, however, got a new hearing in front of 11 9th Circuit judges, who decided 7-4, the restrictions for concealed-carry permits were allowable.
The case has now been appealed to the Supreme Court and though the Justices have rescheduled its consideration several times, some experts feel the court is finally ready to hear Peruta.
“I suspect they’re going to grant it,” said John Eastman, former law dean at Chapman University and the director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Eastman told Fox News, “it’s percolating all across the country.”
He also feels the justices may have put it off while waiting for a full complement on the court, which they got when Neil Gorsuch was confirmed last month. Gorsuch, in fact, may be the justice to tip the opinion in one direction or the other, as previous Second Amendment cases were determined in a 5-4 ruling.
According to Eugene Volokh, professor of law at University of California at Los Angeles, this case is primed for the Supreme Court, as it deals with a basic constitutional right and “the lower courts are split on the issue.”
It would be a good time for the highest court to step in and settle the controversy. He also feels that while no one is sure how Gorsuch will vote, there is a “sense that he’s sympathetic to a broader view” of the Second Amendment.
The case may turn on how the court frames the issue. To Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California Irvine School of Law, the legal question to be settled is whether a state like California may determine its own rules on concealed-carry permits.
“The Second Amendment isn’t an absolute right,” Chemerinsky notes. Throughout British and American history, “there’s never been a right to have concealed weapons.”
But Eugene Volokh believes there’s a bigger issue at stake. If the state of California, which essentially bans open carry of a gun, makes it next to impossible for a typical citizen to get a concealed-carry permit, this is “tantamount to banning” the right to bear arms “except for a few favored people.”
Experts agree on one point. As Chemerinsky puts it, if Peruta is taken up, “no matter what the Supreme Court says, it will be a landmark decision.”

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UT Professors who ban guns in their classrooms will be punished, university lawyer says

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From Sacramento Bee: (Austin, TX) Three professors duking it out in court for the right to ban guns in their classrooms were told Monday they will be punished if they do, according to the latest legal back-and-forth prompted by Texas’ new campus carry law.
“Faculty members are aware that state law provides that guns can be carried on campus, and that the president has not made a rule excluding them from classrooms,” attorneys representing the University of Texas at Austin and Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in a legal brief filed Monday. “As a result, any individual professor who attempts to establish such prohibition is subject to discipline.”

Professors Carter, Glass and Moore,

Professors Carter, Glass and Moore,

The warning was meant as a clear message to UT professors Mia Carter, Jennifer Glass and Lisa Moore, who sued the university and state in federal court last month to temporarily block the implementation of campus carry. The new law, which went into effect just last week, allows licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns into most buildings on college campuses, where they were previously allowed just in common areas like quads and sidewalks.
The state’s lawyers, in their Monday filing, asked Judge Lee Yeakel to throw out the professors’ lawsuit. The educators fired back in their own brief, calling again for Yeakel to halt the law for one semester so they can hold a public trial on whether campus carry violates their constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection.
The professors’ lawyers say the law and UT’s own campus carry rules are too vague for his clients to know if and how they might be punished if they tried to keep gun owners out of their classrooms.
“No person of common intelligence – and one would think that the tenured plaintiffs rise at least to that level – can figure out what governs them on this issue under Texas law and UT policies,” the professors’ attorneys wrote.
Dog eyeroll
They go on to say there is nothing in state law or UT policy that explicitly forbids professors to ban guns in classrooms, so, then, the question is “whether there is any policy at all that would bar plaintiffs from doing what they want to do or that would punish them in some way if they did so.”
In the state’s brief, attorneys from Paxton’s agency say the law is clear. It gives campus presidents the ability to designate each school’s limited “gun-free zones,” they say, and if classrooms are not expressly included in campus policy as off-limits to firearms, then guns must be allowed there. “The president is the sole individual authorized to establish gun exclusion zones on UT Austin’s campus. He has not designated classrooms as gun exclusion zones,” they wrote.
Yeakel could decide by week’s end whether to grant the professors’ request to temporarily block the law. While their attorney said it would apply only to them and the students they will teach in the fall, Yeakel acknowledged granting their request would be a slippery slope that would allow other professors at UT, and every other public university in Texas, an excuse to ban guns in their classrooms.

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In Washingston State concealed-carry permits skyrocket, especially for women

Graphic: Seattle Times

Graphic: Seattle Times

Seattle Times: For Katie Oittinen, a turning point was an afternoon two summers ago when a stranger walked into her living room. When he encountered Oittinen and her dog, a Great Dane mix, the man fled.

But what really scared Oittinen, who was pregnant, was what happened next: She called the police. They said they would come to her Portland home. And they never did.

So after her son was born and she and her husband moved to Granite Falls in Snohomish County, the 29-year-old new mom decided to get a license to carry a concealed handgun. “That was a wake-up call,” she said. “It’s things like that that make you wonder: ‘Who can you really rely on to protect you and your family?’ Pretty much yourself.”

Oittinen is part of a rush of Washington state residents — and especially women — who have obtained concealed-carry permits in record numbers.

Between 2005 and 2012, the number of state residents receiving new concealed-carry permits tripled to 62,939. Now some 451,000 Washington residents are allowed to carry a hidden handgun almost anywhere they go, more than 100,000 of them women.

Notably, the growth rate for women getting new permits is twice as fast as that of men.

What is going on?

Washington’s recent boom in concealed weapons mirrors a national trend, according to a Seattle Times analysis. State and national experts, law-enforcement officials and others, including permit holders themselves, offered different explanations for the concealed-carry explosion here.

But a common concern emerged from interviews with women who carry: the importance of self-defense.

That concern found an echo last month after a misogynistic gunman committed mass murder near the University of California, Santa Barbara, sparking a national conversation about women’s concerns about their safety.

Arkadi Gerney, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress think tank, said concealed permits have ballooned nationwide because they are easier to get, thanks to new technologies and fewer pre-requirements such as training. “That drives more adoption,” Gerney said.

Washington is one of about 40 “shall-issue” states, meaning that law-enforcement agencies must issue the state’s “concealed-pistol license” (CPL) if minimum requirements are met. To get a license, an applicant must be 21 or older, undergo a criminal check and be fingerprinted. You are disqualified if you have a felony conviction, commitment for mental illness, dishonorable discharge from the armed services, illegal drug use within the past year, among other reasons. No firearms training is required.

Mitch Barker, executive director of the Washington Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Association, said that tragedies such as the mass slaying of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., have left people feeling helpless and in search of a way to protect themselves. “They think that if they have a CPL and they have a firearm … maybe they can do something,” he said.

After Newtown, gun owners in Seattle, King County and statewide did flood in with applications for concealed-weapon licenses. There were 3,439 permits issued by the King County Sheriff’s Office and Seattle Police Department in the three months after the tragedy. For the same period a year earlier, there were about half as many, 1,791.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, said recent statements by President Obama about the importance of gun safety have triggered a run on permits out of fear of a looming crackdown. “Obama has been the gun salesman of the year,” he said.

In fact, gun rights have expanded since Obama took office while crime has gone down, said the Rev. Sandy Brown of First United Methodist Church, a member of a large coalition of faith leaders and public-health officials that supports background checks for all gun sales. He said the demand for permits is rising because Second Amendment groups have stirred fear in gun owners.

Washington’s rate for concealed weapons is now higher than almost any state. Of the 36 states that responded to Seattle Times records requests, Washington ranked fifth in permits per capita — above states such as Texas, Florida and Montana.

The sport of shooting

For Michelle Locke Hemby, the question was not why get a permit. It was why not. Hemby, 48, of Queen Anne, said she loves the sport of shooting and is well aware of the practical benefits of a permit, such as being able to avoid the waiting period to buy a handgun.

A facilities and corporate services manager, Hemby said she applied for a license in March after hearing rumors that the government might try to restrict permits. “I think it’s one of those things that because I can and because I enjoy the sport, it’s something I should take advantage of,” she said.

Hemby said women are probably getting permits more because they are becoming empowered to take control of their own safety.

She is something of an anomaly in her neighborhood. Her Queen Anne ZIP code has one of the lowest rates in Washington for concealed permits, 2.7 percent. The ZIP code for Seattle’s International District has the lowest rate, 1.9 percent. By contrast, the ZIP code for tiny Wilbur (in Lincoln County in Eastern Washington) has the highest rate, 22 percent.

Gracie McKee, 26, is a concealed license holder who came from a small town, in her case Brush Prairie, about 13 miles northeast of Vancouver, Wash. “The reason I carry is out of a deep-seated love for myself, my family and the innocents,” said McKee, now director of training and a range manager at West Coast Armory in Bellevue.

McKee knew by age 19 she wanted a concealed-weapon permit and after turning 21, she obtained one. She has since become an NRA training counselor, a certified instructor and a range-safety officer.

“I’d like to encourage women to explore any avenues, whether it be carrying concealed or something else, that will empower them to take on the survivor mindset and refuse to be a victim.”

Safety responsibility

Anette Wachter, a member of the U.S. National Rifle Team and a Belltown resident, secured her CPL three years ago. “I carry because I feel I am responsible for my own safety,” she said.

“The women I know who are getting their CPLs are women excited about shooting recreationally and the self-defense side comes second, as an added bonus,” she said. “Women are realizing they can do more to protect themselves. It’s a fun, interesting, daring and empowering thing to do … know you may be able to protect yourself gives you a bit more confidence that you don’t have to be a victim.

“I do feel everyone should have safe gun-handling training,” Wachter said. “But I don’t believe it should be a requirement to have training in order to buy a gun or have a CPL because of the fact that some women really may be in a dangerous situation and may need that protection.”

Phyllis Buckridge, 84, of Marysville is among the oldest women in the state with a license to carry a concealed weapon. She considers it a tool, one she used, beginning as a young adult, when hunting, hiking and “traipsing through the woods as a signaling device. I can’t yell very loud.” Today she doesn’t carry the weapon much. “At my stage in life, I’m not out rousting around,” Buckridge said. “I do know where it is in the house.”

Excellent news! And I concur with Wachter – training is a must and can more than likely help prepare you if you need to use your weapon for self defense.

Practice, practice, practice!

Practice, practice, practice!


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