Supreme Court refuses to hear case challenging California conceal carry law

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of California’s concealed carry laws, which give locally elected sheriffs discretion over issuing licenses for good cause.

Sacramento County residents James Rothery and Andrea Hoffman, who were denied licenses more than 10 years ago, argue the law deprives them of their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for protection outside the home and violated the clause of the Constitution that affords everyone equal protection under the law.

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The law allows each city and county the power to issue a written policy setting forth the procedures for obtaining a concealed-carry license for good cause. It also allows retired police officers to obtain concealed carry permits without having to show “good cause.”

The residents argued the Sacramento County sheriff was issuing permits to friends, donors and supporters but excluding others.

But state officials said Rothery now has a concealed carry permit thanks to a new sheriff, who changed the definition of good cause after taking office in 2010. That definition required only a stated desire to have the ability to carry a weapon for purposes of self-defense, or defense of a family, to obtain a license. Hoffman has not reapplied for a permit since being denied in 2008.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the case. The court held the Second Amendment does not protect, in any degree, the carrying of concealed firearms by members of the general public.

The decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the case keeps that ruling in place.