A Federal Court Just Blocked An Attempt to Gut California’s Gun Laws

And the case’s Trump-loving plaintiff is not happy.

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This morning, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited opinion in a case challenging how concealed-weapon permits are issued in California. Writing on behalf of the seven-judge majority, Justice William Fletcher delivered a blow to pro-gun advocates, stating that “there is no Second Amendment right for members of the general public to carry concealed firearms in public.”

The case’s lead plaintiff, Edward Peruta, had argued that the state’s current system for issuing concealed-weapons permits is arbitrary and unconstitutional, since it gives sheriffs and police chiefs broad discretion in determining who has the “moral character” and “good cause” to pack a hidden gun. In his finding that such regulations are constitutional, Fletcher cited the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, which affirmed the right to keep guns for self-defense, but found that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

Peruta, whose lawsuit was backed by the National Rifle Association, is a Vietnam vet, ex-cop, public-access TV host, worm farmer, legal investigator, crime scene videographer, and serial litigant whose contentious past led some gun-rights advocates to question whether he was the ideal figure for such a high-profile case. “Do I believe that everybody should have a firearm? Absolutely not,” he told me when I profiled him last year. “Do I believe that there’s people who should be prohibited? Absolutely.” Yet he believed the Second Amendment was firmly on his side. “You don’t like it? Change the fuckin’ Constitution!”

“I am in absolute favor of Donald Trump, and the most import thing is the appointments to the Supreme Court since that may be the next stop.”

In 2014, two judges on the Ninth had ruled in Peruta’s favor. If that decision had stood, California would have become one of the 37 “shall issue” states, where concealed-carry permits may be issued to anyone who meets basic requirements such as a background check. But the court agreed to reconsider the case en banc after state Attorney General (and Senate hopeful) Kamala Harris intervened. The 11-member court heard arguments in the case last June. Both sides of the gun debate have been waiting for a ruling. Anticipating an appeal, the NRA has said it “presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to settle some Second Amendment issues that desperately need resolving.”  

When I reached Peruta today, he said he had not yet spoken with his lawyers and had no comment on the ruling or plans to appeal. “I’m gonna defer to the powers that be,” he said. But he added, “I have have permits to carry and from this day forward I will be carrying openly.” (The court made no decisions regarding open carry.) 

Peruta also insisted that I note his strong support for another outspoken proponent of concealed carry. “I am even more convinced now that we need a Donald Trump in the White House,” he continued. “I am in absolute favor of Donald Trump, and the most import thing is the appointments to the Supreme Court since that may be the next stop.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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