SAN FRANCISCO -- In a victory for gun control advocates, a federal appeals court said Thursday people do not have a right to carry concealed weapons in public under the 2nd Amendment.
An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said law enforcement officials can require applicants for a concealed weapons permit to show they are in immediate danger or have another good reason for a permit beyond self-defense.
The decision overturned a 2014 ruling by a smaller 9th Circuit panel and came in a lawsuit over the denial of concealed weapons permits by a sheriff in San Diego County.
California generally prohibits people from carrying handguns in public without such a permit. State law requires applicants to show good moral character, have good cause and take a training course.
In San Diego County, the sheriff required applicants to show supporting documents such as restraining orders against possible attackers to show good cause for a permit. The requirement prompted a lawsuit by residents who were denied a permit.
During oral arguments before the 11-judge 9th Circuit panel, Paul Clement, an attorney for the residents, argued that the self-defense standard should be sufficient and asking for more violates the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
California Solicitor General Edward DuMont countered that there was a long and rich tradition of restricting concealed weapons in cities and towns. California officials sought to intervene in the case after the San Diego sheriff declined to appeal.
California officials said loosening concealed weapons permitting standards and allowing more people to carry guns threatens law enforcement officials and endangers the public.
Clement countered that there was no evidence that crime went up in counties such as Fresno and Sacramento that had more permissive "good cause" standards.