Constitutional Law

Federal Judge Finds No Constitutional Right to Carry a Concealed Weapon

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A federal judge in California has ruled there is no Second Amendment right to carry a concealed weapon.

Gun rights lawyer Alan Gura of Alexandria, Va., is planning to appeal the ruling by U.S. District Judge Morrison England Jr. of Sacramento, the Associated Press reports.

England sided with the Yolo County sheriff, who refused concealed weapons permits unless the applicant was a victim of a violent crime, was threatened with violence, was a business owner carrying large amounts of cash, or cited another specific need.

England said the Second Amendment right is not absolute, and it does not create a fundamental right to carry concealed handguns in public. He used a rational basis review, saying the plaintiffs were not substantially burdened in their right to bear arms, even if they are denied a concealed carry permit.

That’s because the plaintiffs “are still more than free to keep an unloaded weapon nearby their person, load it, and use it for self-defense in circumstances that may occur in a public setting,” England wrote in the opinion (PDF).

England also rejected arguments akin to those used in First Amendment cases that Yolo County’s policy is a prior restraint on the freedom to keep and bear arms.

Similar suits pending in New York, Massachusetts and Maryland are still pending, AP says.

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